Scott McDermott
By Connell Barrett
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I know I sound like an infomercial, but hand on Bible: I went from shooting 96 to 76 without a swing change using this prescription.

PLAY HOLES ON THE RANGE

Scrape, hit. Scrape, hit. Don't mindlessly beat range balls pre-round. Instead, using your regular routine before every swing, imagine playing the course's opening three holes. This reduces the unhappy tension that can plague your first several swings.

PLAY TO YOUR PERSONAL PAR

Change your course's par to reflect your ability, adding a stroke to the most difficult holes. You're a 12 handicap? Your par 72 is now an 84. (Write the new "par" for each hole on the scorecard.) This gives you a realistic score to shoot for and helps your course management.

AIM FOR THE BACK OF THE GREEN

On approach shots, hit the club that, if struck perfectly, will reach the back of the green. This brings more green into play if you mis-hit the shot. Also, don't expect to rattle every pin — the pros don't. The average leave on Tour from 100-125 yards is 21 feet from the hole, according to Shotlink.

COMMIT — AND LET 'ER RIP!

Standing over the ball, find a swing thought that helps you commit to the shot. For me, it was "Hulk smash!" which helps me accelerate through impact. A positive thought wards off fear about where the ball will go. Remember: It's gonna come down somewhere.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN