Breaking Your Golf Plateaus

Finding a New Level

One of the best times in your golf life is when you’re new to the game.  Yes, it can be frustrating, but it’s unlikely there will be another time when you improve as rapidly.  As you pile up experience, your game will naturally level off.  But if you’re a competitive person, this plateau may not be palatable.  In this lesson, I’ll discuss how to break through those golf plateaus to find new, higher levels of performance.

Check out the longer, podcast version of this lesson HERE

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to see your game improve dramatically

Where Are We Headed?

Before you embark on your journey of improvement, it’s important to define your goals.  “Get better” isn’t going to get it done.  Are you trying to get longer off the tee?  More accurate with your irons?  Better around the green?  Have fewer three putts?  Drop your handicap by three strokes?  We need to start by picking a goal.

You should also set a deadline.  I wrote a lesson many years ago about SMART goals [find it HERE], an acronym for setting good goals.  The “T” stands for “Timely” meaning that a good goal has a due date.  Without that time pressure, it’s too easy to say, “I’ll work on it tomorrow.”

Finally, I’d encourage you to be realistic.  Golf is not a game of perfect.  You can work harder than anyone in human history, and you’ll still hit the occasion hook.  I’m all in on your goal of knocking three strokes off your handicap this year.  However, I’ll take the under if your goal is going from a +20 to a -3 in one season.

Do Something New

Henry Ford is credited with the line, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  There is no better summary for this lesson.  If you want to get to a new level of performance, you need to do a new level of work.  This can mean one (or more) of three things.

New Work

My favorite way to bust through plateaus is by finding the low hanging fruit.  In this context, that means doing the stuff you aren’t currently doing to improve your game.

The two things that come to mind for me are club fitting and fitness.  The majority of golfers have never been fit for their clubs.  That means they can, quite literally, buy a better game.  Similarly, most golfers are not doing anything to improve their body.  This could be as simple as committing to a five minute warm up before playing or practicing.  It could also mean something more serious like improving your diet or exercising regularly.

Of course, these are not the only forms of new work.  If you’ve never put any time into putting practice, that could be yours.  It could be taking a lesson.  Maybe it’s working with a new training aid.  Any of these things can lead to a golf breakthrough.

More Work

Another way to get through a golf plateau is to put more time into your game.  If you’re currently practicing once a week, find a way to practice twice a week.  Investing more time is the simplest way to see better performance.  The one catch, however, is that you need to put in quality time.  Which leads us to the final route to improvement.

Better Work

We are all guilty of going through the motions at times.  It could be on the range, on the green, or in the gym.  We’re there in body but not in mind or spirit.  If you want to see your performance improve, cut these “empty calories” out of your practice.  Put something on your golf bag that reminds you of your goal.  Set a reminder on your phone to give you a daily shot of inspiration.  If you’re putting 100% focus into every minute of your practice, you’ll ascend to new golf heights in no time.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve taken up boxing as my workout of choice to improve my golf. Weight shift, balance, relaxation, rotation, using the ground for power. Except for getting hit in the face, throwing a good punch and hitting a good golf shot are remarkably similar My hope is that good boxing technique can bleed (heh, heh I said bleed) over to better swing technique.

  2. ^ interesting choice!
    Been thinking of hitting a heavy bag for similar reasons.

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