Play Golf Faster and Better

1. How to put a spring in your step

Just because you don't take a cart doesn't mean you can't motor around the course. Here's how to turn a good walk spoiled into an aerobic workout, according to Jeff Salvage, former member of the U.S. Racewalking Team (so he's a guy who's really walked the walk).

  • Take a pull cart, and lead with your hips when you walk.

  • Lean forward, as if walking uphill.

  • Tighten your abs, says Therese Iknoian, author of Walking Fast. You're getting an ab workout while you walk.

  • Push off with the toes of your back foot to get an extra boost, and pump your arms, er, arm.

2. How to run a search and rescue mission

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3. How to choose your weapon

Wind, elevation changes and distance uncertainties cause indecision, and the longer you wait, the more tension creeps in. According to John Krikorian, vice president of training for caddie-staffing company CaddieMaster Enterprises, you can choose the right stick right quick if you:

  • Add or subtract one club for every 10 mph of wind. Side winds are more about direction adjustments than distance, so take one more club and shorten your backswing to keep the ball down.

  • Figure one extra club for every 25 feet of elevation. Subtract clubs the same way for downhill shots, though anything more than a 100-foot drop is a pick 'em.

  • Remember that bunkers, creeks and trees near the green make the flag look closer than it is. Trust your yardage, not your eyes.

4. How to pull the trigger

If your lie goes from fairway to knee-high rough during the time you take the club back, it's time to pare down your pre-shot routine. "Every step should serve a purpose," says Top 100 Teacher Bryan Gathright. "No wasted motion. And 20 seconds is plenty of time." For a routine that speeds up play and fights off negative thoughts, Gathright suggests this two-step setup:

  • Stand behind the ball, visualize the shot and take one practice swing.

  • Address the ball and look up at the target—not the ground—to align the club and your feet. Look back to the ball, waggle, take a final peek at the target, and when your head returns, fire!

5. How to decide who's away

If your not sure who's away, don't grab the tape measure. Say with supreme confidence "I'm away" and play. While we're young.

6. How to grab a quick bite

If your putting stroke is literally shaky, maybe that coffee-and Marlboro breakfast is to blame.

You'll play better if you eat a quick high-carb, high-protein snack, says nutritionist Melinda Manore. So unwrap an energy bar or down a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, two pieces of lightly buttered whole-wheat toast and a glass of O.J. Even a PB&J helps keep your blood glucose levels fairly constant, which helps keep your blood glucose levels fairly constant, which helps with concentration and muscle control, she says. In a worst-case scenario, Manore says you can grab an Egg McMuffin, which is rich in protein and carbs. (If it grabs you back, run!)

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