Golf is such an enigma of a game, able to give rise to some of the best emotions in sport while at the same time capable of reducing the men and women who play it to husks, unable to understand how they could have sliced a drive so badly or missed such a tiddler of a putt.
Helping people lower their handicaps has become a huge business in its own right, with golf pros often pulling up in nicer cars in the club carpark than the course’s owner.
However, as psychology and tech advances continue to have a huge impact on the wider game, the ways in which players can get closer to that scratch handicap dream are changing rapidly.
Here we take a look at just some of the mindset, technique, and equipment tweaks that the modern golfer can make to get the best out of their game.
A Caddy on Your Wrist
Every amateur player out there wishes they could do as the pros do and employ a full-time caddy who can select clubs for them and break down the yardage.
While hiring a living, breathing caddy is still reserved for those who compete on the pro tours, the next best thing for amateur players are the new generation of golf watches. Models such as the Garmin S40 will perform almost all the functions that a real caddy would. Just don’t expect the watch to hold an umbrella for you or polish your clubs before putting them in the bag.
Data Can Only Be Good, If Harnessed Correctly
One of the main things that has revolutionized the ways in which players can analyze their golf game is the use of big data, combined with the analytics tools that can make sense of it. This means that players can now teach themselves lessons and take away key performance indicators after every practice session or round they play.
The aforementioned golf-specific watches are excellent for this, but there are plenty of other means of collecting such data, including mobile apps and club-mounted sensors. Aside from digital data, there is also the information that can be picked up on by players as they explore a course and test themselves on its greens and fairways.
This also applies to people who like to bet on golf after having played a round themselves, as being able to contextualize all the nuances of a course, and how tour pros will react to it, is one the keys to success. At the end of the day, anyone connected to golf in some capacity who is willing to process as much information as possible will probably end up coming out on top, whether that’s on their own home course tournament or when they are wagering on PGA Tour or European Tour stakes.
Always Take Weather into Account
Something that doesn’t gets talked about enough when it comes to golf is weather, because not being prepared for what the elements can throw your way is a sure-fire way to produce a damp squib of a round.
This is something pros often get wrong, finding themselves wet through after a sudden downpour or huddling under a tiny umbrella because their caddy forgot to pack full body waterproofs.
Luckily, thanks to garment technologies such as Gore-Tex, there are plenty of jackets and trousers that will keep a golfer bone dry for a full 18-holes no matter how hard it chucks it down. Perhaps the best on the market is the Galvin Green Apollo Paclite jacket, although there are others out there that do practically the same thing but for a fraction of the cost.
Arguably the most important piece of kit on a wet weather day are waterproof golf shoes. To this end, there are now even golf boots which ensure water never seeps into your socks.