In this video, Neil Tappin is joined by PGA professional Alex Elliott to discuss the 7 reasons you don't get better at golf.


7 Reasons You Don’t Get Better At Golf

Often golfers practice in a way that is less than optimal and often actually does more harm than good. Neil Tappin and PGA professional Alex Elliott discuss those points here, dispelling myths and offering some simple pointers for how to avoid falling into these traps.

WATCH: 7 Reasons You Don’t Get Better At Golf


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7. Practicing on the course

On the course practice is crucial but is something many people get wrong. Many people treat everything like a competition whereas if you are playing with friends or playing by yourself then it is time to hone your skills.

A tip that Alex gives is to open up the note app on your phone, and write down the four shots you want to hit. Then put a tick if you have a realistic chance of hitting the shot, and another tick if you pull that shot off. This will give real-time feedback for what shots work well, and what doesn’t work well.

Also developing a stock shot is crucial for lowering the handicap.

6. Closed practice

Many people on the range hit the same club, at the same target time after time which can be good for repetition. However this has to be blended in with random practice too.

Alex likes to do five-ball sets. The first three balls are closed environment, drilling a swing to a target. Whereas the final two he likes to change target, change task and set himself an objective like on the golf course – i.e. hitting to a target or a flag.

5. Not knowing your game

Miss diagnosing what you are good and bad at on the course is a common trap people fall into which results in players working on the wrong things in practice. Therefore taking a little bit of time to look at your game in detail, and being honest with yourself, will give you a better basis for what to work on in practice.

4. Goal setting

Many players seek to make big leaps in their games which may not be realistic or achievable in the short term.

A better way to create goals is to make them bitesize. For example the best players have good short games with wedges and the putter. So if you set yourself the small goals of getting better at those things, then you inevitably will achieve the bigger goal of getting a lower handicap.

3. Boring practice

You need to find a way of making practice exciting and try and do something that makes you want to practice. Most people when they go to the range practice monotonously which is not conducive to improvement.

A game Alex likes to play is the nine shot drill which encapsulates a draw, fade and straight shot hit with low, medium and high trajectories.

Alternatively, for the mid to high handicapper, end a range session by picturing yourself playing holes at your club, preferably a par-4 and a par-5 so you have a variety of shots to play. Visualising the shots you want to play and attempting to play them on the range could help your practice.

2. Practice games

Playing games during practice is something a lot of people don’t do. A good short game one to play is the up-and-down challenge in which every ‘hole’ you play, the par is 2.

The best thing to do is, during a practice round, put yourself in the typical scenarios you find yourself in and test yourself by playing the game above.

1. Practicing what you’re bad at

We all have parts of our games that we do not enjoy working on but doing so is important if we want to improve.

For example at the range we hit driver and the irons often, but rarely go and practice short-game shots like bunker shots.

Alex’s two tips for working on bunker play are setup and the feeling through the shot.

In setup, feel like the tailbone is a lot lower because this will lower the club and the hands and create a shallower club arc to the ball.

The second is to imagine a smiley face on your club and when you are playing the shot try and get it facing back at you.

If it is not bunker play you need to work on, find the other parts of your game that need attention and do so in practice.

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