Marginal gains to make a difference to your game

Aug 14, 2014

Look for marginal gains to make a big difference to your game

Posted: 24 Aug 2014 11:45 AM PDT

With Rory McIlroy winning the USPGA Championship last weekend at Valhalla, the major golf season is now assigned to the record books for 2014.

And with the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles now only 40 days away, the end of the golf season is fast approaching. 

So, if you haven’t quite reached the goals you set at the start of the season, it is important to make the most of the next eight weeks of golf.

You may be thinking that to improve your game to where you want it to be requires major surgery, and a complete change to they way you swing the club.

If this is the case, and I will make it absolutely clear that in most cases it won’t, then now is the wrong time to be considering this. You have six months to focus on this aspect of your game, through the winter when competition and time on the course is scarce.

A good focus for the next eight weeks would be on your marginal gains, as improving all aspects of your game by the slightest margin will help you be a better golfer.  So how can we apply this to your game?

Striking the ball 1% closer to the middle of the driver clubface will help increase your ball speed and more importantly result in less curvature. Less curvature means more fairways hit and more ball speed results in more distance.

In addition, let’s assume your clubhead speed is average for the amateur golfer, which if you read my last article, you will know is 92mph.  A 1% increase in clubhead speed doesn’t sound a lot, but struck well, can result in a further increase in ball speed leading to a further 3 yards of carry distance.

Approach shots
With your tee shot now longer and more in the fairway, you can be more aggressive with your approach shot.  The extra distance will help you to hit less club into the green, and the cleaner lie from the fairway instead of the rough will make it easier to control the golf ball. 

With a pitching wedge in your hand, from 100 yards you may be a 5% player, meaning that you ball will finish 5 yards, or 12.5 feet from the flag.  Becoming a 4% golfer from 100 yards, hitting the ball to 10 feet will increase your chances of holing that putt.

Hitting the ball closer to the flag, either with your approach shot, or with your chip/pitch/bunker shot, will clearly make it easier to hole putts.  Here I will not talk about percentages, but over the course of a season it will be just as relevant to other parts of your game.

As obvious as it sounds, taking one putt less per round will help you to reduce your score instantly.  How many times have you completed your round and sat with your playing partners in the 19th, talking about that one putt that you missed on the 12th or the 17th.

So when you next play, or look at where you want to be by the end of the season, don’t think about the big gains that you need, think of the tiny things you could do to help reduce your score.

And remember that lots of small improvement can result in big changes

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