Three steps to playing better golf this year

By Chris Smeal

Director of Instruction, Future Champions Golf Academy

A new year has started and we all want to play better golf this year. What are you going to do to play better? Here is a 3-Step Process I use with my students that really works.

STEP 1 – Take Inventory of Your Current Golf Game

I find it very important to analyze your golf game in detail so you can develop a game plan to improve your skills. I have created a simple sheet that all of my students are required to fill out on a regular basis. You can print a copy for free at

STEP 2 –Develop a Plan for the Next 3 Months / 6 Months / or all of 2012

For example I have committed to play in 4 events from January 29th through March 5th in 2012 and the first thing I did was to write down where I would be playing and what dates. Here is the schedule…

Jan. 29- Feb. 2 – Oakley Skull Cup – Talking Stick Golf Club – Phoenix, AZ

Feb. 6 – Northern Trust Qualifier – Mesa Verde Country Club

Feb. 13 – Fujikura Pro Am – Shadowridge CC

Mar. 5 – Nationwide Qualifier – Bear Creek Golf Club

Now I ask myself… What do I need to do to play my very best at these events? Well based on my last couple events that I have played which was an event on January 9th and before that I played on December 12, 2011. I will use both of these events to recall what I did well and what I could have done better. Now here is where I think most people fail and that is accurately determining what is going wrong in your golf game or causing you to lose a few strokes. Here is my analysis of my game from these events.

December 13th – Played a very good round at PGA West Stadium Course shooting a 71. Could have been much better. On three occurrences I bailed out to avoid water because I was fearful of going left with water down the left and I put the ball in trouble on the right. This led to a double bogey on a par 4 and two bogeys on par 5’s that I feel like I should be making birdie on those holes. To me I just gave up 6 shots on three holes because of ONE PROBLEM! If I was not fearful of going left then I would have just ripped it down the middle like all the other holes. I also gave up 1 shot on a basic chip shot that came up well short of the hole with plenty of green.

January 9th – Shot 74 at El Camino Qualifier for the Farmer’s and missed qualifying by 3 shots. How could I have qualified? Well I sprayed my driver right almost all day and I attribute that mostly to rhythm as I felt like I was swinging too hard from the top and I just couldn’t get control of that so I put myself in trouble multiple times and cost myself at least 4 strokes. Only birdied 1 par 5 but in my practice round I birdied all 4. I made a bogey from 65 yards and I had one 3 putt.


So based on this info here is my plan to play well during this upcoming series of events –

Work on my Swing Rhythm and commit to a stock ball flight shape rather than swinging hard and seeing where it ends up.

Short Game Practice – 3 x a week working on basic chips and pitches. End each session with a scoring challenge to test my game under a little pressure.

Work on Driver and playing to a specific target to avoid this idea of bailing out for fear of going left. I want my miss to go right and I always score better when this is the case.

Play at least one practice round at each of the tournament venues to get a good feel for the course and to plan out the shots I will need to hit during the events.

I hope you can put a plan like this into play for your golf game in 2012 and years to come!

All the best…