Updated: Aug 5
Hi friends and golfers! This Professional Golf Coach, Erik Schjolberg, located in Scottsdale, AZ at McCormick Ranch G. C. is always looking for differenced between amateurs and professionals. When looking at the Professional golfer, I look at them as a group and try to figure out what they do nearly 100% of the time and the typical amateur doesn't. Ask yourself, as you read my blog, are you working on the correct aspects of your golf game. This is not a full list, but it is a great start!
Golf is a game that requires skill, patience, and strategy. While many amateurs enjoy playing the sport, there are certain secrets that golf professionals know that can significantly improve their performance on the golf course. In this article, I will explore the top 10 secrets that golf professionals know and how amateurs can benefit from them.
1. Proper Grip
One of the first things golf professionals learn is the importance of a proper grip. Having a correct grip on the golf club ensures better control and accuracy in your shots. Amateurs often overlook this aspect and end up struggling with their swings. By practicing and mastering the proper grip, amateurs can significantly improve their shots and overall performance.
Typically the amateur has a super weak grip running through their palm on the left hand. This will not allow our wrists to work properly causing a massive loss in distance. Most golfers would benefit from a stronger lead hand. Please see the video below where I go into detail on the difference between a weak and a strong grip.
Pros vs. Ams - The Grip
2. Consistent Setup
The setup is crucial in golf as it determines the foundation of your swing. Golf professionals pay great attention to their setup, ensuring consistency in their stance, alignment, and posture. Amateurs often neglect this aspect, leading to inconsistent swings and diminished performance. By focusing on a consistent setup, amateurs can achieve better ball striking and accuracy.
Most amateurs are sitting way too far back in their stance on their heels. Look in a mirror and draw a line from the middle of your hip down to what should be the ball of your foot. If it is landing at the heel or beyond that, you are sitting way too far back and essentially not allowing your pelvis to rotate properly. Please check out my videos on posture. Check out my other blogs or my YouTube channel to get much more in depth..
3. Course Management
Golf professionals have a deep understanding of course management. They know when be aggressive and when to play safe. Amateurs tend to take unnecessary risks and often find themselves in difficult situations. Learning how to assess risks, evaluate shot options, and make smart decisions on the golf course can greatly improve an amateur’s game.
When I do playing lessons, the typical 12-15 handicap will save an easy 5-7 strokes by following my advice. Amateurs try to hit shots they never practice, have unrealistic expectations about shots they can pull off, don't give themselves proper angles off of the tee, etc.
4. Mental Game
Golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. In fact I have professed for many years that golf is 100% mental. Why? Our muscles don't move without a signal from our brain is one reason. Professionals understand the importance of mental toughness, focus, and composure on the golf course.
Amateurs are frequently prone to letting negative thoughts and emotions have an adverse impact on their game, ultimately resulting in a significant decline in their performance. It is crucial for amateurs to concentrate on developing a robust mental game in order to effectively navigate the challenges that golf throws at us. Golfers need to remain composed, maintain focus, and exude confidence even in high-pressure situations, enabling them to achieve success on the golf course. It is ok to think of who you want to become, not who you are now as a golfer.
5. Practice with Purpose
While amateurs often hit balls at the driving range without a specific plan, professionals practice with purpose. They set specific goals, work on specific aspects of their game, and track their progress over time. Amateurs can benefit from adopting a more structured practice routine and focusing on specific areas they want to improve.
The typical amateur will go to a driving range and hit a whole bucket of golf balls without really ever moving from the spot they are in and will rake one shot after another to themselves. This is not practice, this routine is called exercise. Unfortunately it is very rare that I ever see golfers using better training techniques that I work hard on teaching all of y students. What makes the golfer isn't their talent. Read my extensive works on this topic in other blogs and on YouTube again.
6. Pre-shot Routine
Professionals have a pre-shot routine that helps them prepare mentally and physically before each shot. This routine ensures consistency and helps them get into a focused state. Amateurs often lack a pre-shot routine and may rush into their shots without proper preparation. By developing and following a pre-shot routine, amateurs can enhance their focus and consistency on the course.
A pre-shot routine is unique to each golfer. I build a different routine for each of my golfers. The reason for this routine is so that they cover all of the static parts of their game and get in the proper mental state. Most amateurs get up over the ball and just think about how they are going to hit it by focusing on internal cues like their arms, hands or whatever. Great golfers mostly focus on external cues and let the body self organize.
7. Shot Selection
Knowing which shot to play in different situations is a skill that professionals excel at. They consider factors such as wind direction, lie of the ball, and hazards before selecting the appropriate shot. Amateurs often select shots without considering these factors, resulting in poor outcomes. Learning to make better shot selections can lead to more successful and strategic play.
It is easy to see statistically how amateurs differ greatly than professionals in how they choose their shots on the golf course. Amateurs are usually short on their approach shots into the green. This is b/c they think they can hit it farther than they do on average b/c of some really good shots. Once again, I see amateurs try to play shots they have not practiced. If you are between clubs and you never practice hitting a shot 90% then pick the golf club you can swing at with your regular speed and just get it on the green.
8. Short Game Mastery
The short game is often overlooked by amateurs, but professionals know its importance. Short game skills, such as chipping and putting, can greatly impact the overall score. Amateurs can benefit from dedicating time to practice and improve their short game, as it can save strokes and lower their scores.
The technical skills for amateurs in their short game is usually poor. Pitching and chipping is not just a shortened version of our regular golf swing. The technique is totally different and I would argue it is the opposite when you look at the two kinematically. Amateurs can make up the most strokes in their game by becoming more proficient here.
9. Physical Conditioning
Professional golfers understand the importance of physical conditioning for optimal performance. They work on strength, flexibility, and endurance to enhance their game. Amateurs often neglect physical conditioning, which can affect their swing mechanics and overall performance. Incorporating exercises and stretches specific to golf can help amateurs improve their physical capabilities on the course.
Amateurs can improve their physical conditioning by following a simple program. Develop a fitness routine that fits into your schedule, something that will last. Work on core strength, flexibility and mobility. Incorporate exercises that mimic the movements and demands of a golf swing. Examples include rotational exercises using resistance bands or cable machines. These exercises can improve your swing mechanics and power. Fine-tune your nutrition: A well-balanced diet provides the energy and nutrients necessary for optimal performance.
Get sufficient rest and recovery: Adequate sleep and rest are crucial for muscle recovery and overall performance. Balance your training with enough time for recovery to avoid overtraining and potential injuries
10. Secrets Golf Professionals Know - Continuous Learning
Golf professionals are always learning and seeking ways to improve their game. They analyze their performance, seek guidance from coaches, and stay updated on the latest techniques and strategies. Amateurs should adopt a similar mindset of continuous learning and improvement. By staying open to new ideas and seeking guidance, amateurs can enhance their skills and enjoy the game even more. In conclusion, golf professionals have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can greatly benefit amateurs. This doesn't mean that you ask what you think a good golfer does for advice on your golf swing. Other golfers know what works for them, not you. Plus, they will probably be telling you what they feel and if you have read my blogs you will know for the most part that feels are not real.
By implementing these top 10 secrets into their game, amateurs can improve their skill level, enhance their performance, and have more enjoyment on the golf course.If you are interested in learning more about improving your technique, take a look at my website at EJSGolf.com. You can find information about Scottsdale Golf Lessons at ejsgolf.com/scottsdale-lessons and Online Golf Lessons at ejsgolf.com/online-lessons. You can also find out more about me at ejsgolf.com/about.
Remember, improving your technique takes practice and patience, but with the right guidance, you can transform your golf game. And as always, keep practicing and never give up on your golf goals!