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5 Targets That You Should Have on The Golf Course

By: | Fri 19 Apr 2024

As the golf season gets into full swing it is the ideal time of year to ask yourself what you want to get from your game in 2024.

Will you just carry on where you left off last season, or will you be setting yourself some targets? 

If you aim to improve specific parts of your game I can guarantee that you will get more enjoyment from your game and, hopefully, see your handicap start to fall.  

There are many ways to track your statistics. You can use Golfshake’s Score Tracker for starters, or you may have a rangefinder that allows you to see at a glance your areas of weakness. In truth, you probably won’t need anybody to tell you where you can improve.

But here are the keys areas you should probably be working on:


Most PGA Tour and DP World Tour professionals average between 27 and 29 putts per round. It is how they make their scores, and it is an area they work on tirelessly. 

I have never been able to understand why club golfers spend so little time working on this part of the game. Turn up at any golf club in the country and you will almost certainly see most golfers hitting maybe six putts on the practice green before they head out to the course. Even more puzzling for me is the fact that they usually only practice holing short putts. The reality is that your average club golfer will find himself or herself facing lengthy putts on almost every hole they play. 

Having recently returned to the game, the one area that has not deserted me is my short game and I continue to work hard on my putting because it really can save you - and demoralise opponents  

Take five or six balls and place them at varying distances from the hole - what is the point of hitting six putts from exactly the same place? Playing from different distances will teach you feel - and feel is absolutely everything on the greens. 

It does not help that the practice green on most courses bears absolutely no relation to the surfaces you will find when you head out to the course. So try to go to the course at times when you know it is going to be quiet and try the above drill on a real green.

Statistics show that the average 20-handicapper will take around 39 putts per round. Imagine the improvement if you can get that down to around 30. And that brings me to my next area of focus...

Short Game Practice

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Short Game

When you hear commentators talking about top golfers having a great short game, there is far more involved than simply being proficient with the short stick. 

If you watched The Masters you will surely have marvelled at the skills demonstrated by the likes of Scottie Scheffler when they missed the greens. This also applies to run-of-the-mill PGA Tour events. The winner will usually hit plenty of fairways but they will always be among the best in the field when it comes to putting and scrambling. 

These guys chip and pitch to greens that are lightning fast. You and I don’t. Our greens are far slower, and that means that chipping and pitching should be much easier because the chances are that you will not lose control of the ball. The two most common faults that I see are pitches being left way short and shots being chunked because club golfers look for the ball before completing the stroke.

So, much as above, if you really want to lower your scores, spend time around the practice greens honing your pitch shots. And don’t always use the same club. Trying to throw a ball all the way to the hole is a far more difficult skill to learn than  playing a pitch and run with a seven or eight iron.


Bryson DeChambeau’s Masters challenge came to grief because he kept reaching for the driver and trying to knock the cover off the ball. Yes, he hit a couple of 370-yard tee shots that found the middle of the fairway. But he also hit plenty of drives that found the trees and gave him no shot to the green.

The best professionals are those who tailor their game, who assess the risks of each and every tee shot.

Now take the club golfer. If it is anything other than a par three, he will always reach for the driver without a second thought. 

I would urge you to ask yourself to consider hitting a three wood or utility club from the tee at par fours that are fraught with danger. It is surely a better strategy to find the fairway at any cost than launch yourself at the ball and slice into a lake, forest or thick rough. If you are playing your second shot from the short stuff this is a much easier game. Being further back in the fairway may leave you with a longer second shot but at least you WILL have a shot. And if you cannot reach the green with your second shot and have perfected the skills addressed earlier in this article you will stand a very good chance of getting up and down in two to save your par. At worst, you will walk off with a bogey.

Distance Control

It is a stone-cold fact that club golfers believe they hit the ball further than they do. What other possible explanation could there be for so many golfers coming up short time after time after time? You should learn how far you actually hit the golf ball with every club in your bag. Your rangefinder may help you achieve this. A decent driving range will be fitted with Trackman technology that is 100% accurate and will definitely assist you with this. And remember, if you hit one 280-yard drive that has come right out the middle of club, but nine others that have travelled 220 yards then the harsh reality is that you average 220 yards from the tee. 

As a general rule of thumb, I would urge you to always take one more club than you think you need. Quite apart from anything else, if you think you have too much club you are more likely to swing the club with more rhythm, thus increasing your chances of making a perfect strike.


All of the above should help you but remember to buy a decent golf glove, and to change it before it falls apart! Make sure that your shoes are fit for purpose, and use decent golf balls!

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