Golf With What You Have


The Anti-Improvement Plan

Every click bait website and YouTube channel wants to sell you a plan to turn the worst part of your game into your pride and joy.  Unfortunately, the reality is that the only way to do that is to invest a lot of time that you probably don’t have into serious practice.
In this lesson, I’m going to offer you something better: a plan to take the game you have now and score better.  No new shot shapes, no new swing, just a prettier scorecard.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to shoot lower scores
You’re frustrated by the shots you don’t have
You have limited time to practice


Take Stock of Your Game

The first step in learning to play with what you have is recognizing what you have.  This requires some honest self assessment, something most golfers are notoriously poor at.
If you track your stats with a system like Shot Scope, that process is a lot easier because the data doesn’t lie.  If you don’t, track your stats on paper for a few rounds or do some skill testing on the range.
Consider each element of the game: driving, approach shots, short game, and putting (you can get more granular if you want).  What are your strengths and weaknesses as a driver?  Are you long or short, what shot shape can you actually hit reliably, and how often do you mishit drives?  What irons are you confident in and what shot shape you do you hit?  What short game shots are reliable and which ones are hit-or-miss?
When it comes to putting, spend some time thinking about the best way to improve.  For 99% of golfers, that means investing more time on controlling speed.  Having better speed means fewer three-putts which translates to immediate score reductions.


Enhance Your Strengths

When you go to the range, instead of fighting to turn your cut into a draw, work on controlling your cut.  Limit your mishits by locking in on your stock shots.  Rather than attempting to make your 3I a usable club, spend your time making your 5I more reliable.
In the short game area, don’t waste time with flops and low spinners if those aren’t gamer shots.  Use your time to become the master of the basic chip and pitch.
On the putting green, focus on speed, speed, speed.  If you can make three-putting a thing of the past, you will become the most feared player in your regular game.


Play to Your Strengths

This is the toughest part of the plan: when you get on the course, stick to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.  If you hit draws with your driver, do not try to hit a cut, even when “the hole calls for it.”  When you find yourself 210 yards from the green, hit 5I and a pitch rather than trying to nuke the 3I that you never hit well.  If you fear bunkers, take them out of play with your club and target selection, even if that means aiming away from the flag.
By playing to your strengths, you’re going to erase the double and triple bogeys from your scorecard almost overnight.  You’re also going to give yourself a lot more chances to make birdies and easy pars, which is going to frustrate opponents and drop your handicap.
By Matt Saternus
Founder, Editor In Chief at
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He’s worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.
This article originally appeared on

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