A Key to Playing Better Golf: Keep it Simple

Photo by Morgan House on Unsplash

During an interview, PGA Championship and British Open winner Collin Morikawa, talked about the importance of playing his game and of “wearing out his fade.” He’s also been quoted as saying he never hits draws with his driver — with the exception of number 18 at the Sony Open (an almost 90 degree dogleg left).

I also recently heard Tony Finau speak about simplifying his game. How the greatest improvement in his golf came when he shortened his swing and started to hit nice fades with his driver.

So often as golfers, we complicate things by thinking too many things, or trying to do too much. In golf, it is best to stick to simple golfing concepts and see, then hit your target.

There are many mantras that golfers use to “keep things simple”:

  • Aim small, miss small.
  • Swing aggressively to a conservative target.

As mentioned, both Finau and Morikawa are also looking to simplify golf. One of the main ways the best golfers do this is by hitting a predictable shot.

Like Jack Nicklaus — who spoke about eliminating one side of the golf course — both players are trying to do this by hitting fades (especially with their driver). Often I’ll play with different golfers and they’ll look out over a hole and see that it is a dogleg left and immediately say, “this hole calls for a draw” (if they are a right-handed golfer). And often, they’ll end up hooking the driver too far left because their “normal” shot shape is a fade.

Why not stick to the fade? Sure, you may need to aim at the inside part of the dogleg, but it will likely be a shot that is predictable.

Most of golf is managing your misses (because we often hit a lot of them during a round!). If you know that 6 times out of 10, you’re likely to hit a fade with your driver, then stick with it! Those percentages are better than 3 out of 10 you’ll be able to hit a draw (if that is indeed the case).

When I stand on a tee, I want to feel comfortable in the shot to get it on the fairway (or green). How best can I do that? If it is a tight driving hole that is longer, my main goal is to get it into the fairway so I remove the variable of hitting a tree, or going out of bounds. This strategy changes if I’m on a wide-open hole with no trees. I’m more apt to go after the tee shot, but continue to hit my normal shot-shape.

To keep this short and simple(!), if the best players in the world are employing a tactic like this, why aren’t we? Keep your game simple and you’ll soon be producing sweet scores!

How do you keep things simple on the golf course?

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