One of the biggest differences between average golfers and single digit handicappers is the ability of better golfers to recover. When an experienced golfer hits a bad shot, they assess the situation and decide on the best course of action to move forward. Most importantly, they do this without hitting another bad shot. The opposite can be true for higher-handicap golfers, and what could have been an easy bogey turns into a double or worse. The avoidance of consecutive mistakes is absolutely essential for lowering your scores and your handicap. Here are some of our favorite tips for what to do when you get into trouble, and how to smartly get out of it.
A bad tee shot
Our best advice: Play to your yardage and then hope to get up and down for par.
You’ve hit a tee shot right or left into trouble, or you’ve found a green-side bunker. Ask yourself, what is your favorite yardage? Do you like to hit a 120-yard shot? Make sure your rangefinder is close by and subtract the yardage you want to hit from with the total yardage to the hole. Try to hit that yardage.
This will leave you a comfortable shot onto the green rather than some kind of half-swing. This technique helps eliminate several potential mistakes. The last thing you want is to try something heroic and then find yourself in two sticky situations on the same hole.
A missed green
Our best advice: Pick a shot you’re confident in hitting.
You hit a good drive but then missed the green with your second shot. The most important thing here to avoid consecutive mistakes is to hit a third shot you’re confident you can pull off. Instead of trying to do the impossible, play to an area where you know you can two-putt or get up and down from. Find where the trouble is and make sure you stay away from it. Using this strategy and playing for bogey rather than trying to make a miracle par will save you strokes on your round.
Sidenote* not sure where the best place to miss might be? Read last week’s blog post where we dive in to that very topic!
A putt hit way too far (or too short)
Our best advice: Practice, and don’t rush it.
We can’t give you a ton of advice if you leave a putt short or blow it by the hole except to suggest you take your time on the second shot. It’s ok to three-putt, but you absolutely must avoid the 4-putt. Make sure to lock in your practice routine with a world-class putting trainer. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be over putts of any length.
A chunked or thinned chip
Our best advice: Change clubs
Perhaps the worst feeling in golf is the chunked or thinned chip. You either have to hit the same shot over again or walk all the way across the green and play from a different angle. Our best advice here is that if this happens, hit a different club on your second try. Take out a hybrid or a long iron and just make a nice smooth “putting” stroke. This will get the ball moving even if you don’t make great contact and ensure that your next shot is a putt and not another chip.
Our overall best advice: SLOW IT DOWN
For every single shot after you make a mistake, you need to slow it down. Take a few deep breaths and visualize the shot you want to hit. Don’t forget your practice swings, and most importantly, don’t rush.
We hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for keeping your scores low. Comment below or reach out to as @froggergolf on social media if you have some suggestions of your own on how to avoid consecutive mistakes!