The Best Things In Golf Are Free

Yes, I Know…

…that the title is a little much, but give me a chance.  This isn’t a touchy feely piece about how golf is good for your soul.  This is a lesson about how you can get better at golf without emptying your pockets.  In fact, it’s about how spending money is often counterproductive if you want to improve.  Let me explain…

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to improve your game

You’re sick of expensive training aids and lesson programs

Stop Wasting Money

We’re all familiar with the cheesy, formulaic infomercial.  “Are you tired of (insert common problem)?  Stop doing (thing that works but is hard/time consuming) and buy (insert product name)!”  Why do they keep making that same commercial over and over?  Because it works!

There is no easier way to make money than to sell people quick fixes.  But here’s the thing: quick fixes don’t work.  If they did, everyone would be fixed.

Am I Being Hypocritical?

“But Matt, you review tons of training aids and other stuff that costs money!”

Yes, I do.  In fact, I have a training aid review coming out tomorrow.  And I’ve given my seal of approval to numerous training aids and instructors and books, and will continue to do so.  But I’ve never promised anyone a quick fix.

My point in writing this lesson is twofold.  First, to tell you that buying a thing is not what will make you better.  There are great lessons, books, and trainers out there, but owning them isn’t what makes you improve.  Putting in work is what makes you better.  My second goal is to break golfers out of the mindset that improvement necessarily costs money.  If you’re reading this article, you have the tools to improve your game.  Here’s how:

Free Ways to Improve


I know I just lost a lot of readers with this one.  Oh well.  As Morpheus told Neo, “Most people are not ready to be unplugged.”

If you want to get better at golf, you need to practice.  That might be putting, hitting balls at the range, slow motion drills in a mirror, or chipping in your yard.  Spending time on the putting green or short game area is free at every course I know of.  Hitting balls costs money, but there’s no law against hanging out on the range and hitting the balls people leave behind.  A pack of limited-flight balls costs a few dollars but you can hit them back and forth in a park for an entire summer.  If you want to put the work in, there are options available to you.


Golf is loaded with outstanding books about improving your game.  While I don’t recommend diving neck-deep into books on swing theory – you’ll end up being pulled in fifteen directions – you can get a lot out of books on the mental game.  Anything by Dr. Bob Rotella or the Vision 54 team would be a wonderful place to start.  You can also look into books on strategy and scoring such as Lowest Score Wins and Every Shot Counts.

The links above are Amazon affiliate links, but if you want to stick strictly to the concept of free, get the books from your public library.


This is unquestionably the number one untapped resource for golf improvement.  We all know that golf is a mental game, but very few of us train our mind.  Take five minutes a day to work on breathing and being present.  You’ll see the effects on the course and throughout your life.

If you want to go a step further, visualize your performance on the course.  If you can visualize intensely, there is no difference between imagining an experience and actually having it, because, to quote Morpheus again, “Your mind makes it real.”  Smell the grass.  Feel the club in your hands.  Sense the excitement of the moment, and see yourself pulling off the big shot.  When that opportunity arises on the course, you’ll be better prepared because your mind will have already lived it, and succeeded.

Matt Saternus


  1. Since feel is not real, I would suggest the best training aid is video – I just bought a liveviewsports camera and stick – and it’s about to go to the range with me.

  2. As I know you know, practice itself will not help someone improve. Only correct practice will result in improvement.

    And speaking of practice, putting and short-game practice areas on most public courses have been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. Dan+Shepherd

    You’re exactly right, Matt. Common sense, intuition, and science/fact-based options are all needed in various degrees depending on the player and what works best for him. Cheers!

  4. Geoff Bridgeman


  5. Jared Wallace

    Thanks for the book recommendations. Appreciate it. #SecretGiveaway2021

  6. Meditation I think is an incredible aspect of everyday life including golf. It’s not always about achieving perfection but being in the moment, preparing for the next, and working towards a goal. Golf is damn hard!


  7. John Newberger

    Practicing your short game can not be stressed enough. Getting up and down and staying away from the dreaded three putt is what elevates your game more than anything.

  8. #SecretGiveaway2021

  9. I simplified my game this year and finally saw an improvement. I’ve spent more time reading but trying to filter out too many tedious details.

  10. Michael Paul Kearns

    Plugged in Golf is a very good web site, providing loads of usable information.

  11. Cody Hargreaves

    Video is the best. I’ve got a lot of good use out of the MirrorVision app! #SecretGiveaway2021

  12. Duncan Deaville

    Costs me nothing to just hit putts up n down the hallway, focussing on strike and pace.. if I want to extend this to a challenge I get my mat out and a dozen balls, can’t stop until I hole all of them consecutively from varying distances. #SecretGiveaway2021

  13. I am a 70 yr old, first year golfer, trying to make up for lost time; including looking for that secret to success. Your articles have been incredibly insightful to me. As I’ve known for years there are no secret formulas to golf, nor to life. They both require hard work and consistency! However, could use a new putter; #SecretGiveaway2021

  14. mike murphy

    You have mentioned it in other articles, but not here. I think fitness and mobility will help as much as any other improvement method. #SecretGiveaway2021

  15. Todd Williams

    Love it. Practice is the key. #SecretGiveaway2021

  16. Sorry to disagree with you Matt, but the latest Callaway commercial for the B21 says I don’t have to practice or fix my swing – just buy their driver and it will unlock the power already in my swing (or something like that). LOL

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