Golf Lesson: Golf Is About More Than Just The Swings – Focus On High Priority Golf Skills | @derekhoopergolf

By Derek Hooper
August 30, 2013


When you watch any PGA Tour telecast you won’t have to wait too long before one of the commentators starts to talk about the quality of a player’s golf swing. They talk in terms it’s grace and beauty, and a variety of other aesthetics. The truth is, the game of golf is not a beauty competition. There are no bonus points for how pretty your swing looks. Golf is about getting your ball in the hole faster than the next person. To do that you must master a certain set of golf skills and be able to execute them when you need to.

If you are going to get better and shoot lower scores then working on your game has got to me more than improving swing positions and making the swing look better. There a wide variety of golf skills required to play the game well, and if you want to play your best then you need to know what skills are more important than others and be sure your coach is helping you to get better at those higher priority golf skills.


Priority #1: Ball Control – The ability to get the ball in play from the tee and then get it somewhere near your target on the second shot is critical to good scoring. Penalty shots will quickly inflate your score so the importance of avoiding them cannot be overstated. The key to this area of your game is not how many great shots do you hit, but rather how good are you at avoiding disasters. Distance with your shots is of far less importance than how well you can control the ball.

Priority #2: Putting – If penalties are the number one killer of a good score, then 3 putts are number 2. Too often I see players working on their full swing because their ball curves a little off line, yet they regularly have over 40 putts per round. If you are not having 32 putts or less per round, then you need invest some time to work on your putting.

Priority #3: Scrambling – We focus so much on how far we can hit a golf ball, but we choose to overlook the how quickly can you get the ball in the hole. Playing golf is not a distance game. It is about getting the ball in the hole in as few as strokes as possible. There is no point in hitting a driver 250 yards in one stroke if it takes another 4 or 5 strokes to get the ball in the hole from 50 yards. If you are unable to consistently hit the ball within 20 feet of the hole from inside 50 yards, then work on this area of your game will help to dramatically lower your scores.

Assess your game today.Decide the golf skills that, if improved, will give you the greatest reduction in score and then allocate your practice time accordingly. You will be glad you did. Thanks for reading!

For more of my teachings and instruction, please visit my website at!

Derek Hooper


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