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IT’S TIME TO (FINALLY) DROP YOUR HANDICAP INTO SINGLE DIGITS

Mike Bender

MANY GOLFERS have hovered at the same handicap level for so long, it’s tempting to ignore their names and refer to them as a number. “Hey, 15, how’s the family?” If you’ve been shooting the same scores for years (or decades), I’ll spare you the lecture about practicing more. Instead, I’m going to offer a less-taxing solution to attaining the next level of golf. My studies on amateur and professional golfers have identified habits and skills that can significantly lower your handicap, and they don’t require Malcolm Gladwell’s recommended 10,000 hours of repetition to master.

For example, when examining golfers who have won at least five majors, I found that all of them took no more than eight seconds to hit a shot from the time they addressed it. Another thing they all did was keep in constant motion before taking the club back. Those things are pretty easy to incorporate into your game.

Here’s another: Before you pull the trigger, take one last look at your target. Not a peek; give it a hard stare. Then look down at the ball and go. You’ll find this makes it nearly impossible to think about swing mechanics. When you can shut down those thoughts, you’re on your way to a more fluid swing—and possibly your first single-digit handicap. Read on for more habits and skills to acquire. —WITH RON KASPRISKE

BRING IT IN MUCH LOWER

You expect to hit the green from inside 100 yards, but I’m going to show you how to get the ball within one-putt range. It’s so much easier to control distance and direction if you bring your shot trajectory down. And this shot doesn’t require a ton of practice. Just play the ball back with a slightly open stance and the shaft leaning toward the target (above).

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July 2019