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Do’s and don’t’s to help be the best golfer you can be


I like articles that are straight forward, easy to read and provide helpful hints which are short and sweet. Items that have a “do’s and don’ts” style are nice. Reader’s Digest does a wonderful job with that. So, today you’ll find a number of hopefully helpful tips in that style from your Doctor of Golf.

  • Do let your key swing thoughts be positive. Don’t let any swing thought begin with “don’t.” If you stand on the tee and say to yourself “don’t hit it in the water,” your brain strangely can’t process “don’t” that quickly, and sure enough you hit it into the water.
  • Do hit a “lay-up” shot short of any hazards. Don’t try to hit a shot over water that you can hit only two out of 10 times. Be smart about playing the probabilities with your own game and play safe.
  • Do dress with the proper attire, like a real golfer. Don’t wear a T-shirt, sandals and blue jeans.
  • Do try to play your best shots no matter what. Don’t ever give up on a hole.
  • Do take personal responsibility on where you hit your ball and how you play. Don’t be a whiner.
  • Do keep your head still and your eyes on the ball through the shot. Don’t lift your head up too soon while you’re hitting or putting, with a likely nervous attempt to see where it goes.

Bonus: Golf Joke of the Day. After the worst round ever a depressed golfer told everyone he was going to throw his clubs into the pond, jump in the water and drown himself. When they told the club pro he said, “He won’t drown himself.” They asked “why?” The pro said, “he can’t hold his head down that long.”

  • Do play your own golf balls even if you pull them out of the pond. Don’t steal balls from the range.
  • Do take some practice swings and start your warm-up on the range with short irons. Don’t take out your driver to start hitting practice balls. Work up from wedges, longer irons and woods.
  • Don’t focus your mind and emotions on the results of the shot, the money or the outcome of the match. • Do make your focus on the process of how you play. You’ll find there’s a freedom in the process.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself by self-talk like, “this is a must-make putt.” Do go through your routine just like any other putt. That’s a tried-and-true anti-choking strategy.
  • Do establish a friendly, trusting relationship with your playing partners. Don’t be a jerk.
  • Do play at a brisk pace. Don’t rush. As the great basketball coach John Wooden said, “Be quick but don’t hurry.”
  • Don’t try to hit the long drive by flailing your arms and flipping your wrists. Do shift your hips and weight forward while pulling your arms and shoulders down.
  • Do spend at least half of your practice time chipping and putting. Don’t ignore your short game.
  • Don’t show up late for your tee time. Do allow enough time to get there on time.
  • Don’t mess up the cup by replacing the flagstick in sloppy manner. Do respect the golf course.
  • Don’t try to fix big swing problems on your own. Do get some much needed lessons from a pro.
  • Don’t hit random areas (targets) on the range and think you have the shots dialed in. Do hit specific shots at highly specific targets; hit the same ones at the same distances you hit on the course.
  • Do get fitted by a professional club-fitter for new clubs. Don’t buy used or off the shelf stuff.
  • Don’t convince yourself you’re a bad putter. Even if you fail to make what you think are your share of putts, it probably is aim or technique or even eyesight. Do have a pro take a look and diagnose.
  • Don’t get down on yourself following a serious meltdown in a previous round. Do review the mistakes and mishaps and try to isolate the lapses. If it’s a rare episode in your game, forget about it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the latest golf fad of “analytics” as prized by men and women tour players, who have the latest pricey launch monitors and teams of specialty coaches. Do create your own analytics in the form of recording your fairways, greens, putts and bad mistakes for your round. Then review the data to determine what to work on.