Okay, I freely admit it. My current index of 13.3 marks me as an average golfer. In fact, according to the United States Golf Association, I am the “average,” average golfer. “The most common handicap index range for men is 13.0-13.9, which consists of 5.42% or just more than 95,000 golfers.” I realize at age 69 my best golf days are behind me, but that doesn’t mean that I should wave the white flag and accept the fact “average” is my forever reality.
Even at my age, I believe that I can get better – that by turning more, I can get 10 more yards off the tee; that by staying behind the ball, my irons will fly straighter; that by practicing more, I can turn three shots into two.
Of course, I understand that lowering my handicap will require taking lessons and then practicing, but I also believe that I can improve my game by pouring myself a drink and doing a little reading. When I open a golf book or magazine, I am not looking for technical lessons such as A New Way to Transfer Max Energy or Increase Your Launch Angle and Ball Speed. What I look for is a little inspiration and simple tips and reminders that I can actually remember. Recently, I have been collecting Jack Nicklaus quotes. Why Nicklaus? One reason: He is the BEST EVER! Look at his record in the Majors:
Consistency -- From the 1970 British Open through the 1978 British Open, Nicklaus finished in the Top 10 in 31 of 33 Majors. In the two in which he didn't, he tied for 11th and 13th.
Major Wins -- 18. Major 2nd place finishes – 19. Major 3rd place finishes – 9.
Major Top 5s – 55. Major Top 10s – 73.
Winning span in Majors -- 24 years (1962-1986).
Perhaps NICKLAUS SAYS will save you a shot or two this week – or this year:
Aim and alignment are by far the most important elements of the act of moving a golf ball from A to B. Rub the magic lamp, get the genie to give you any golf swing of the your choice from history and if you don’t direct it correctly from the beginning, it still won’t reduce your present score by even one measly stroke.
Bear in mind that the shorter the club, the shorter the backswing, thus the shorter the follow-through.
Even the gutsiest players learn they can’t try the hero shot all the time.
Every cure is temporary. But it’s nice while it lasts.
Golf is you against yourself.
If you’re leaving long putts short or jerking short ones off line, check your follow-through. It’s just as essential in putting as on wood and iron shots.
Keeping the right knee slightly flexed yet firmly in position during the backswing is tough for many golfers. The trick is to set and keep your weight on the inside of the right foot.
The fuller your backswing, the longer it take to execute, which can help your tempo. Longer swingers, I’ve noticed, usually enjoy longer-lasting careers.
The game is most fun when you are experimenting.
The harder I want to hit the ball, the slower I start my takeaway. I want it to be just fast enough to avoid being jerky.
The time to focus your mind on key swing thoughts is as you settle into your final address position
There are a lot of ways to play good golf, but they all have one thing in common: a steady head.
You first have to see the trouble, then think positively about playing away from it. Some players might say they just “let it happen.” Well, you don’t ever just let it happen.
Your powers of observation are your first strategic weapon. Second is your imagination. There is an ideal way to play almost every shot in golf. The better you identify and imagine it, the greater your scoring chances become.