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Taking your Game to the Next Level
By Paul Wilson

If You Shoot Over 100

If you currently shoot over 100, you are probably new to the game.  Golf is
game that takes plenty of practice and understanding.  At your level, you're
probably very excited to just get out to play.  You always have a big grin on your
face because you've found a new hobby that gives you a little exercise and
gets you breathing some fresh air.  Unfortunately, shooting over 100 will get
old very quickly, especially if you're a competitive person by nature.  So your
smile will start to turn into a frown, and you may end up giving the game up.  It
is quite easy to break 100 if you know what to do.

What to Do To Break 100

If you're new to the game, you have not ingrained any bad habits yet.  So before
you do, take some lessons from a qualified pro.  It's usually quite easy to
teach you the proper fundamentals of the golf swing because you're eager to
learn and never second guess the teacher.  If the relationship between the
student and teacher is good, the speed at which you will see results is very
quick.  Usually within a month or two, the "over 100" shooter can easily take 10
- 20 shots off of their game.  Once you break 100 on a regular basis, you'll start
to see the game differently.  Although shooting in the 70's is a few years into
the future, it may be attainable because taking lessons initially has given you a
great start on the game.

If You Shoot Over 90

If you currently shoot over 90, you're someone who has to play more often.  are
in corporate tournaments.  Corporate tournaments are a definite game
wrecker.  The usual scramble format leads you to just bashing the ball as
hard as you can trying to get that one drive that helps your team.  Unfortunately,
this leads to a HUGE slice with the driver -- which doesn't help your team at all.
I know it's fun to try to hit the ball as hard as you can, but If wailing away at it
was the way to play good golf, everyone would be a pro.  You will also find the
short game very difficult.  Although the short shots around the green look easy,
they quickly become a nightmare to you because of the amount of touch that's

What to Do To Break 90

For starters, you have to get out to the course more often.  You can still play in
corporate events but you have to do so with a new attitude.  You have to quit
trying to be the hero and start actually helping your team.  This can be done by
swinging easy and trying to get the ball in the fairway or the middle of the
green.  If you swing easier and try to become more accurate, you will be
amazed at how many of your shots the team actually uses.  You would greatly
benefit from weekly lessons.  The lessons would not only give you a better
swing but they would get you out to the range and course on a regular basis.  
Finally, you have to take at least one short game lesson to see how easy it can
be.  This will create a better understanding of the short game which will then
make practicing it more enjoyable.

If You Shoot Over 80

You're the kind of person the major club manufacturers love.  You think that
you can "buy your game," so every opportunity you get to try the latest and
greatest clubs you take it -- because you don't think that your swing is the
problem.  So you buy that new driver and for a while you hit it great.  A few
weeks later that great new club isn't so great anymore, and it's back to your old
game.  This leaves you scratching your head because you thought you had it
and now it's gone.  At some point in your golf career you probably have taken 1
- 3 lessons and you always try every golf tip you hear about.   Because of these
constant changes in both your swing and your clubs you never really have the
opportunity to get used to anything, so you are left in a state of limbo -- always
thinking that the elusive 70's are just around the corner.

What to Do To Break 80

In order to break 80, you have to admit that it's not the clubs.  It's about
developing a repeatable swing and a great short game.  To create this
repeatable swing and great short game, you have to work with a qualified
teacher on a weekly basis.  You're going to forget trying different tips and quick
fixes because you will destroy the changes the teacher is trying to make.  This
whole process is not going to be easy because you basically have to re-learn
the swing (making changes to your swing may cause you to hit some very
poor shots at first because you're not used to it and you're in between swings).
If you stay determined, you'll start to hit some shots that will totally amaze you.  
These amazing shots are telling you that your hard work is paying off and
pretty soon you will be playing in the 70's.

If You Shoot Over 72

You have a great swing.  It'll still go astray from time to time, but you can
usually get it back rather quickly.  You usually make a few mistakes in a round
that you just can't seem to let go of.  This creates stress and pressure that
affects the rest of your game.  Your short game may not be as good it could be.
You know this but actually finding time to practice it is sometimes a challenge.  
Finally, you may be taking the game a little too seriously -- causing you to try to
hit every shot perfectly.  This may lead to second guessing your swing which is
definitely trouble when you are on the course.

What to Do To Break Par

You have to find the time to do some serious work on the short game.  If it's
difficult to make it out to the course, you can always chip and pitch balls in your
backyard and putt on an indoor carpet every night.  This dedication to the short
game is what will allow you to still shoot good numbers when your swing is
not at it's best.  It will also reduce pressure on your approach shots because if
you can get the ball up and down regularly, it's not that big of a deal if you miss
the odd green.  When you do work on your full swing try to work on the weaker
clubs in your bag and hitting the ball from poor lies.  Also, forget distance.  At
your level you are probably long enough.  Concentrate on never swinging over
80% of your ability.  If you can resist the temptation to hit the ball too hard your
miss hits will not stray to far off line, eliminating the need for that miraculous
shot to get you back it the game.  Finally, have fun out there.  If you lighten up a
little you will reduce your stress levels allowing you to switch into automatic
mode instead of having to grind it out all of the time.