Making It to New Heights

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Making It to New Heights

January 07, 2010
By Max Adler Illustrations by Ryan Heshka

Meet two golfers like you who took the Golf Digest Challenge

Ricky Brown

Age: 29Occupation: High School TeacherHome Course: Woodhaven C.C., Fort WorthHandicap Improvement: 8 to 2It's a major improvement for a single-digit to shave even a shot or two off his handicap. So when Ricky Brown reduced his handicap by 75 percent in 18 months, something had to be up. He says the secret has been making the most of his practice. When he first enrolled in the Golf Digest Challenge, Brown was proud of his Long Game Handicap of 5, but shocked by his Short Game Handicap of 12."I was able to see where I was losing strokes," says Brown, who has used the Challenge's lesson archives to work on distance control in chipping and his putting posture."The key change has been to mentally commit," he says. "I visualize the perfect chip or putt, then hit it. I used to just hope I'd hit a good shot."

Tina Baum

Age: 53Occupation: NurseHome Course: Cherry Ridge G.C., Elyria, OhioHandicap Improvement: 21 to 12The Golf Digest subscription in the Baum household is under husband Hank's name, but Tina says she's the one who really reads the magazine. When she signed up for the Challenge, her Long Game Handicap was double her Short Game Handicap, so she focused on tips for hitting greens. She also overhauled her bag, ditching her 4-iron, 5-iron and 7-wood for three new hybrids."Tracking my stats keeps me from getting discouraged," Baum says. "I keep positive by focusing on the areas I perform well in."Baum broke 80 in August 2007 and is excited about her game. "I've gotten rid of all the clutter in my head," she says. "Lately I just think smooth tempo over every shot. I'm beating my husband occasionally."

Fast Help For Your Game

The Golf Digest Challenge is an online program built to help you track your stats, evaluate your game and get customized practice plans. You can have your swing checked by the Jim McLean Golf Schools and access tips from top teachers.Click golfdigest.com/challenge.

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