It's 2024, which marks a clean slate to fix the various things in our golf game that we're not happy with. The list can get long in a hurry, but where's the best place to start?
Check out our 1 Percent Challenge if you're looking for some helpful, specific stuff you can start doing right away. But if you're looking for a bigger, broader starting point, a couple of resident Golf Digest low handicaps, Drew Powell and Luke Kerr-Dineen, have some advice that could help.
Make a golf swing journal
Drew Powell, +2.6 handicap
I am very analytical, and while that may occasionally lead me to overthink on the course, it helps me keep track of my good and bad tendencies.
To see real improvement, you need to understand what makes you play good golf and what causes you to struggle. To do that, I keep a golf journal, and you should, too.
In your Notes app on your phone (or a physical book if you’re an old-timer), jot down a few thoughts after each round or practice session. These can be swing thoughts, feels, strategy observations, reflecting on what caused a blow-up hole, or what you were thinking during a good or bad round. I find that one of the best uses for a golf journal is to track the swing feels you’re using because when you have a record of what thoughts were working when you played your best, it’s easier to get back to those.
The key with a golf journal is to be disciplined and log something after each round and practice session. No matter how average a round was, there is something you can learn and build off. This is something you can start right now during the winter, even if you're not able to play outside. Reflect on last year and what was working or not working during your best and worst rounds. Consider these from a technical, strategic and mental perspective. You'll have a better understanding of your game when you start playing again in the spring.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you start making entries:
- What swing thought(s) did I use today? What shots did they produce?
- What was my best shot(s) of the day? How did the swing feel?
- What was my worst shot/hole of the day? Was it caused by a physical, strategic or mental mistake? How can I avoid that mistake going forward?
- Which part of my game was best today? Why? What was I focusing on with these shots?
- Did I let my reaction to a poor shot bleed into the next shot? How can I prevent that in the future?
Do the ordinary stuff extraordinarily well
Luke Kerr-Dineen, 0.7 handicap
Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher Jason Baile put it best, and I've been thinking about it a lot ever since. He says that one quality he instills in his players is to do the ordinary stuff, extraordinarily well. That means focusing on the boring stuff:
Most of your time and energy should probably be focused on those five things—four of which happen before you even start your golf swing! Yes, I realize that's boring. Or, rather, ordinary. But do those things extraordinarily well, as Baile says, and your game soon will be, too.