There's no stat more important, when it comes to lowering your overall score, than hitting greens in regulation. The best players hit more of them; the worst players hit less of them.
Ball striking, in other words. Getting off the tee with some decent distance relatively safely, consistently. Then doing the same into greens.
As Golf Digest Top 50 Coach Chris Mayson explains in his Golf Digest Schools series (which you can watch right here!), there are a few fundamental things that can help a lot of amateur golfers with their ball striking.
These drills can help you with each.
Drill #1: Ball first contact
Ball first contact is essential for crispy contact with your iron shots. That means moving the lowest point of your golf swing forward slightly. A good way to practice that, Mayson says, is to lay a towel flat behind the ball. The goal is simple: Hit the ball, miss the towel.
Drill #2: Hit up with your driver
On the driver, because the ball is teed up, the goal for most amateurs is to hit the ball on the upswing. That means, unlike with your irons, the lowest point of your swings should occur slightly before the ball. A good way of practicing this, as you can see Mayson demonstrates below, is by placing two towles either side of the ball. Your goal is to hit the ball, without affecting the towel.
Drill #3: Dial your angle of attack
Often, golfers will struggle coming over-the-top. That will in part cause them to hit too far down on the ball, which can result in all manner of mishits, from chunks to pulls; slices to pop-ups. If this sounds like you, Mayson suggests trying to hit some irons off a driver-sized high tee. That will encourage you to swing more around your body.
Drill #4: Make solid contact
This drill isn't for the faint of heart, but if you're serious about improving your ball striking, you're probably not going to get worse doing this drill. Place two alignment sticks, water bottles, clubs, or whatever else you have either side of the ball. The goal is to simply swing through without contacting them. Start wide, then gradually get narrower over time.