How to Lower Your Handicap in Golf

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I remember when I was a kid playing golf, I used to think I was the king of the world. I would play the game against my brother and father and used to whip their butt from hole 1 to 18...

...Or so I thought. Turns out these people that I thought I trusted gave me a "Handicap", and a really high one at that. This is a measure of a golfer's potential and is used to even out the score when playing against potentially higher players. In my case, my family gave me a handicap of a ridiculously high handicap... something like 9000, which basically meant I'd "win" every time.

In real, competitive golf, anything above 20 is considered high, which means that, should you have this score, you usually rank as an "average" golfer. If you ever wanted to be considered better than average and want to lower your handicap, then consider using the following advice.

range game to course

9 Tips To Lower Your Handicap

1. Let's Get Physical

While this won't help you to improve every area of your golf game, staying in shape is certainly a great place to start. Good physical strength and stamina will help you to hit your balls with more power and do so through all 18 holes.

For starters, try lifting small dumbbells, between 10-15 pounds. You can use these to increase the muscle in your biceps, forearms, and hands, giving you more strength to hit the ball.

For stamina, a good exercise is something as simple as jogging. Just running the block every other day can help you to increase your stamina to a level that will help you excel on the course.

These are just a few exercises that you can do to get into shape, so try a wide range of workouts to see what does the job best for you.

2. Warm Up

Much like football and baseball players will before a big game, warming up before a long day on the course could help you to play better golf. You can start these warm ups by stretching your arms, back, and legs, keeping you limber for the day ahead.

For additional warm up, try hitting the driving range, if possible, prior to your match. This will not only help you to get practice for your drive but also warm up your "golfing muscles".

Finally, for putting practice, many courses have small simulated greens near the first hole that you can use. If your golf course happens to have one of these greens, put it to good use by practicing the distance and accuracy of your putting.

3. Work on Your Weaknesses

If you know what your biggest downfalls are on the golf course, try to make a list of them. Then, try heading out to the course in your own time and get in some practice in these areas. Doing this will help you to improve in problem areas and can eventually lower your handicap.

4. Know The Course

Do you know where every potential hazard lies on the golf course you are playing at? Do you know when to expect a steep slope or a dog leg? If not, take the time to learn the course and examine its many features. Doing this helps you to know what challenges you are facing, and allows you to...

5. Make a Game Plan

Now that you know the lay of the golf course, you can make a plan on how to attack it best. When making a plan, not only do you have to keep in mind what lays ahead on the course, but the weather conditions and whom you will be facing off against. With all this information, you will be prepared for any situation that can be thrown at you and will be able to conquer it.

6. Equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment for the job ahead. If you have old clubs, for example, it can affect the way you play as they are less likely to pack the punch that you desire. Try to keep all your gear up to date, and maybe even invest in some more technologically advanced equipment such as range finders, to help keep you ahead of the pack.

7. Prioritize Accuracy Over Distance

While the allure of a high-flying power shot seems tempting, sometimes it is better to focus on the accuracy of your shots. Hitting shorter distance shots can sometimes help you to have more control, and hence more accuracy, than power shots. As a result, you are less likely to land in water hazards and sand traps, allowing you to start getting on the green under par and lowering your handicap.

8. Focus and Stay Positive

Sometimes a golfer's biggest issue is themselves. They start having thoughts about playing poorly that soon will consume them, and as a result, they lose focus and end up having a bad game.

Instead, try to think positive. You can do this, you just have to stay in the zone. And what better way to stay in the zone than visualizing your shots. Keeping focused on the task at hand like this will help you to eliminate negative thoughts and keep your head in the game.

9. Tutoring

If all else fails, you can always enlist the help of a golfing tutor. These tutors will help you to improve your game by teaching you how to improve in your problem areas and excel at your strengths and making you a better golfer (usually for a small fee).

If you don't want to pay for a tutor, then you can always learn from the golfers that you play against. Try to play against higher level players than yourself and take note of what they do differently on the golf course than you do, as this can potentially help you out in lowering your handicap.
lower handicap


While there was little I could do about my handicap as a kid (and even less I can do about my tainted victories), these tips are a sure-fire way to help you with your own difficulties. Just follow our advice and keep on.

Denny Putsh
Denny Putsh

I’m a golf enthusiast just like you and have been playing the game since I was 12 years old. Although I love watching the PGA Tour and following my favorite stars on tour I’m also fascinated by all of the unique and innovative products that are associated with the game I love. It's my greatest joy to share my fascination with golf gadgets, equipment, training aids, and golf accessories with fellow golf lovers on all levels.


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