To go low, you have to eliminate big numbers. I’ve carded more than 200 bogey-free rounds. How? By playing smart. Use my top 10 scoring secrets to rack up a lot more pars and birdies.
1. PLOT YOUR TEE SHOT
I like to identify the fattest part of the fairway, then play my tee ball to that area. Sure, hitting it as far as you can is fun, but picking a spot that gives you the widest margin of error results in more fairways hit, fewer penalties and lower scores.
2. DRIVE WITH YOUR 7-IRON
Okay, not literally, but if you struggle off the tee, don’t try to smash everything. Instead, tee the ball down a bit and swing your driver like you’re hitting a smooth 7-iron. Your improved tempo will help you locate the short grass.
3. CHOKE DOWN OFF THE TEE
For even more driver control, stand a bit closer to the ball and move your hands an inch or two down the grip. Shortening your swing arc makes it twice as easy to find the sweet spot. I hit choke-down drives all the time—it’s one reason I’m among the Tour’s 10 most accurate drivers.
4. AIM HIGH
Try to miss breaking putts on the high side of the hole. Missing low usually leaves you farther from the cup. So always play more break.
5. GET A READ ON SPEED
Early in my career, three-putts ruined a lot of potentially good rounds. My fix? Focusing more on speed and less on my line. On the practice green, roll a lot of uphill and downhill lags from 15, 25 and 35 feet. A better sense of speed, not aim, is the fastest way to stop three-jacking.
6. BE FEARLESS FROM 3 FEET
Another reason you three-putt: nerves. And three-footers are plenty scary, mostly because you’re supposed to drain them, which adds pressure. Try this drill. Encircle the cup with five balls, each three feet from the hole, and try to drain all five. Then repeat the drill. Once you can make 10 out of 10, knee-knockers will feel like tap-ins.
7. SHALLOW YOUR WEDGE
If you’re like most guys, you make three mistakes when hitting wedges: You set too much weight on your left side, you play the ball too far back, and you swing too steeply. My solution is to move the ball to the middle of your stance and balance your weight over both feet. This shallows your attack angle, helping you nip the ball off the turf instead of digging in too deeply.
8. FIND YOUR RHYTHM
Don’t alter the length of your wedge swing for distance control. Just swing a bit harder or softer. Simplicity works.
9. EXPAND YOUR ARSENAL
I rarely vary my short-shot setup, but I’ll often pitch the ball with something as low as a 6-iron, if that’s what the shot demands. Experiment—use your everyday motion with a variety of clubs.
You’ll instantly triple your shot arsenal.
10. SWING THROUGH THE SAND
Tentative swings from greenside bunkers won’t get the ball onto the green. Make a long, vertical and aggressive motion. Narrow your stance and swing down and through the sand with complete confidence.