After a long winter break, your golf game probably isn’t in the same shape as it was at the end of last season. This is completely normal, so here is our suggestion to get your scores back to normal as quickly as possible.
Eliminate Penalty Shots
Penalty shots are going to be difficult to avoid at times. Your shots may be going farther right and left than when you were at your best, and they also will have a bigger variability in distance (fat and thin shots) as well.
By going to the range a few times before playing, see where your golf shots are going. If you are having a difficult time hitting your longer irons and woods, maybe laying up short of the water on that short par 5 would be a good idea until you start striking it better.
Eliminate 2 Chips
Your touch around the greens is one of the first things to slip after some time off. Having those soft hands on your lob wedge is a lot harder to have when you haven’t hit a high flop shot for a few months.
Take the high chip shot out of your tool box for now, and stick to the bump and run. Your first goal is to make sure you have a putter in your hands after chipping, even if you are 20 feet from the pin.
Eliminate 3 Putts
Just like in chipping, having good touch on the green is difficult to have after some time off. Focus on the first putt right now. If you keep leaving yourself 8 feet for your second putt, you will have a high chance of three putting. Before playing, get comfortable with the pace of the greens. Hit some putts to the edge of the green to find your distance control (attached picture). Try and stop the ball one club length from the fringe, putting uphill and downhill. A well-paced putt will likely rest close to the hole so you can have a tap in.
If you are ever unclear about what you should be working on at the range or short game area, try taking a tune-up lesson. Having direction on where you should spend your time will help you see improvements much faster than going about it on your own.