High school golf was one of the best times of my life and will likely be one of your best times as well so make the most of it! Today I’ve got 10 tips for high school golfers whether you are a player, coach, or parent of someone in high school playing golf. I think these 10 tips will open up your mind to the game of golf and help you reach another level of improvement if you apply them to your game.
High School Golf Practice Tips for Success
Tip #1: Have a preparation routine the day before your next match
Make sure to check your golf bag for balls, tees, your glove, rain gear if needed, a range finder, and all accessories you may use during your round of golf. Also make sure you only have the amount of clubs in your bag allowed by rule. Sometimes we add extra clubs during practice rounds to work on them at the driving range or out on the live golf course but then forget about them.
I also used to look up the golf course I would be playing online when I played high school golf. You can find out information about the holes such as yardage, what par it is, and sometimes they put pictures of the golf course allowing you to see bunkers or water.
This got me familiar with the layout and what to expect at each hole. I also could use the yardage distance information to start planning out what clubs I would hit each hole and what yardage I expected to have going into my approach shot. If possible, I would try to plan for an approach shot where I was strong with a certain club and at a certain yardage.
Tip #2: Create 2 Warm Up Routines
Sometimes you’ll arrive to the course pressed for time and have to quickly warm up while other times you’ll arrive with ample time to get yourself ready. Therefore it’s recommended you have two warm up routines: one for when you are short on time and one for when you have plenty of time.
Your short routine should include time to get used to the speed of the greens. Your short game will make up 50% of your shots during your round!
Tip #3: Your Golf Match Takes at Least 2 Hours, Don’t Rush
You’re going to be out on the course for awhile. Think of it as a marathon and not a sprint. Find something in between shots to focus your mind on to keep it off negative outcomes, past outcomes, and/or what score to expect on the future holes.
That being said, you also can’t afford to play too calm because you only have 9 or 18 holes leaving you limited opportunities to bounce back if you screw up. Some holes you may need to press for a birdie and get more aggressive.
Tip #4: Low Scoring High School Golfers Avoid Big Numbers
The one thing that can ruin your round is a bad hole where you record a large number. Keep your golf game as simple as possible not trying to do too much so that the worst score on a hole is a bogey. Rounds that I shot even par, I didn’t have any scores worse than bogies.
Another example is what happened to my brother.
He was playing in the high school state tournament in 2016 and shot a 77. Pretty good right? Well he missed the cut to go to the state high school finals by 2 strokes. He needed to have shot 75 to make it. He shot 77 with an 8 on a par 4.
Those 4 extra strokes meant he would have shot 73 had he made par. He could have double bogeyed the hole and still shot 75 making it to the state finals. Keep your scores bogey or better and no large numbers. One hole can ruin a round unfortunately.
Tip #5: Get Aggressive on Par 5’s and Short Par 4’s
Birdies are hard to score, especially as a high school golfer when your skills are not as developed yet compared to the pro golfers you see making birdies on TV.
Therefore, don’t expect to make birdies that often. This will keep your mood up as you won’t be putting all of this added pressure on yourself to make a birdie every hole. The only time you should try to get aggressive and go after a birdie is on par 5 holes and short par 4 holes.
This leaves you about 4-6 holes per round to get aggressive. The other 12-14 holes you need to keep your game simple: hit fairways, try to hit the green, two putt and get out of there with a par or bogey at worst.
Tip #6: Play to the Center of the Green
Unless you’re Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy, it’s hard to hit the ball to your target as planned. Accuracy is tough in golf and in the golf swing. Therefore, you should aim at the center of the green and ignore the tempting lure of hitting at the pin.
Let your natural error put you closer to the pin by accident. If you aim at the middle of the green you give yourself a better chance of landing on the green and having a birdie putt because you open up both sides of the green to save you if you’re ball moves during flight.
You can also lay up short of the green in the fairway 5-10 yards short of the green if you find that that’s easier then trying to hit to a guarded green surrounded by bunkers or water.
This will leave you a short chip shot from fairway to hopefully convert an up and down par save.
During your high school golf practice, drop a few extra balls when you’re attacking the green. Hit some to the center of the green and hit the others at the flag.
See which shots do better and which end in a better score. If you find that you’re scoring the same, why not go with the less risky shot.
Tip #7: Work on Your Golf Game on the Range Like It’s the Actual Round
When you arrive to your high school golf match and your team is warming up on the range, you want to practice shots you’ll face during your golf round. This will mentally prepare you for facing these shots if they happen on the golf course.
I often see kids just blindly beating ball after ball with the same club with no focus or intent. Instead, hit your driver with a mental image of a fairway in the middle of the driving range. Then hit iron next simulating the approach shot. Then hit a wedge if you want to simulate a 30-100 yard pitch to the green.
Spend time getting your rhythm and tempo down during your warm up. This is the one factor that tends to get off course during a round, causing a golfer to lose his swing and hit errant golf shots mid round.
Tip #8: Putting Green Warm Up
The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for a solid putting day out on the golf course is to get in sync with the speed of the greens. This will reduce 3 putts due to misjudged speeds when lag putting. We all hate hitting it short and leaving ourselves a 10 footer or overpowering and having a long putt coming back.
Also work on short putts. Drain 10 three foot putts in a row and move back to four feet, five feet, and six feet. Your ability to knock it in from inside 6 feet will save you a lot of strokes as this will be the range of putts you often leave yourself after a lag putt or a chip onto the green. Become an excellent putter from 6 feet.
Tip #9: Breathe, Relax, Prepare Your Mind
It’s normal to be nervous before your high school golf match. Try some deep breathing techniques to calm your nerves, reduce tension in your body, and slow down your fast hear rate. When you feel yourself getting upset or nervous on the course, again, do some deep breathing techniques.
Prepare your mind by visioning successful golf shots on each hole. Negative thoughts relay negative information to your subconscious mind. Avoid thinking negative as much as possible. Think positive and be confident to relay confidence to the subconscious mind when swinging and this will help produce a positive outcome during the actual golf swing.
Tip #10: The Best High School Golfers Grind It Out
Last but not least, make sure to stay in grind mode when things start going against you. It’s easy to give up on a round after a bad hole or two and want to quit focusing. The best advice is to forget about it and keep going because anything can still happen. You may still win the match individually or help your team win if you finish the round without anymore bumps.
You don’t want to end your round where you missed out by one stroke and think back to the holes you stopped focusing and 3 putted! My brother grinded it out after making the 8 early in his round and still almost made the cut to the state finals with his 77. Stay focused and realize every shot counts. Don’t give up!