The key to enjoying your golf is feeling as though you are improving, competitive and semi-skilled.
Wherever you play and to whatever level, that feeling of success keeps driving people out onto the fairways, challenging themselves against friends, and maybe even in small club tournaments.
Not everybody can be a world champion, like 2020 Masters Champion and World Number One, Dustin Johnson.
That doesn’t mean the South Carolina-born heavy hitter doesn’t have plenty he can teach you about your own game. Johnson is one of the longest drivers on the PGA Tour and someone who knows his golf.
He is currently ranked as favorite to win the tournament again, according to the golf odds on Bwin, and is also thought to be capable of adding the PGA Championship to his growing list of Majors.
When he speaks, an amateur will do well to listen and he has often passed on his nuggets of wisdom for beginners and amateurs.
So, we have selected three vital pieces of information that he has delivered during the course of his career that should stand you in good stead next time you wheel the clubs out onto your local course.
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If you have a genuine aspiration to be the best in your group of peers or at your club, you will have to put in the hard yards. Johnson explains how his coach inspired him to realize that in order to be better, he had to work at his game.
“A few years ago, my former coach Butch Harmon said every other golfer in the top 10 outworked me,” he said in an interview in November.
“It was probably correct then; I doubt it is now. People have made a lot of the natural ability I have, but everything I have achieved in golf has been down to hard work.”
It is best to work on the elements of your game that need improving. Do you need to up your putting game, or work a bit more with the wedge? Pick your weakest attribute and put hours into improving, then move on to other areas in which you struggle.
Don’t Stress Bad Shots
We have all been there, lining up a shot with all the best intentions only to get the swing wrong and see it slice horribly off into the rough. That can throw you off your game, especially if it comes early in the round, but even the best make errors, according to Johnson.
“I’m the best player in the world, I hit some of the worst shots you’ve ever seen,” he told Golf.com.
“But I go find it and hit it again. Obviously, not all of them are bad but I do hit bad shots. It’s managing those shots and not letting it bother you and going and hitting the next one good.”
Next time your ball flies off in the opposite direction in which you intended, take a breath and endeavor to make the next shot a good one.
Find Your Style
Finally, Johnson believes that you should find your own swing and stick with what works. His father Scott was a golf pro and yet he didn’t try to mold his son, nor did a young Justin seek to emulate.
Instead, he developed his own swing which worked best for him, and has stuck by that ever since.
“For me, the golf swing is two feet long, and that’s the 12 inches on either side of the ball. All that really matters is the way it enters and exits impact. Everything else is style and preference.
Every year, I see kids coming out on tour who immediately change their games. Perhaps they feel they have to swing it like some photo fit Tour pro. But the upshot is they go away from what got them on tour in the first place.”
The takeaway piece of advice here is to play your game, one that works for you, and don’t try to adjust it for anyone else. Work with a swing analyzer if you need to, but once you have your style, don’t change it to suit anyone or anything.
Remember, basics are not just for beginners, they are for winners. Johnson always covers the basics, the things you and I do when we are out on a course. He works on his weakest elements; he doesn’t sweat the bad shots and he plays golf his way.
That may seem like very basic advice, but when it comes from arguably the best golfer in the world, why would you not pay attention?