10 Tips to Smash Your 2022 Handicap Goals
The time for making rather half-hearted New Year's resolutions has passed. Instead, why not make a personal commitment to do everything in your power to take your game to the next level.
The year ahead will present plenty of opportunities to practice, play and improve, but how can you maximise that improvement? We've pulled together some standout tips that will help you go that extra mile and lower your golf handicap in 2022.
Practice smart at the range
We've all seen that guy who 'machine-guns' a bucket of golf balls at the driving range with absolutely no plan of action. In reality, some of us may have been that same guy.
We all have busy lives, so making the most of your time at the range is critical. Start structuring your practice and set yourself goals while focusing on different areas of your golf game.
Here's an even better idea. The Core Golf app is an excellent companion for your driving range sessions (available on iOS only). The app helps you fight driving range boredom and allows you to practice with a real purpose.
Work on your putting
While smashing a drive 'miles' down the fairway can nicely boost the ego, as the saying goes, you 'drive for show and putt for dough'.
There's so much more to holing out than having a repeatable stroke. As well as working on those pesky knee-knockers, you'll need to dedicate time to developing your green reading and enhancing your feel on lag putts to help you avoid those nasty three putts.
Level-up your short game
A sure-fire way to get those scores tumbling is to spend plenty of time on the short-play area of your local practice facility.
Whether it be a lofted chip, a bump and run, or maybe even a flop shot, having a varied arsenal when you're around the greens is essential when you're aiming to reduce your handicap.
Check out Chris Ryan's video below for some expert short game tips.
Play a few rounds by yourself
Of course, most of us look forward to our weekend fourball, but there's plenty to gain from hitting the golf course alone for a few rounds. It can help you appreciate the game differently, with fewer distractions and a faster pace of play. What's more, it could allow you to practice as you play.
If the course is quiet, throw down a few extra balls and work on your approaches from different yardages - your Hole19 app's accurate GPS yardages will help you in this respect.
When your next competitive round arrives, you'll be in better shape to throw away fewer shots.
Play with better golfers
It's true that some golfers - particularly beginners and high-handicappers - can feel intimidated playing with accomplished players. If that sounds like you, and you shy away from rounds with better golfers, it could be limiting your progress.
The benefits of playing with lower handicap players are clear to see. You'll likely pick up a tip or two, you can watch excellent course management in action, you can watch great golf shots - heck, you might even gain a golf buddy or two.
Try to play with as many new golfers as possible in 2022 from all different handicap levels, and you'll likely see the benefit as the year progresses.
Work on your mental game
When your golf round isn't going the way you had hoped, it's very easy to become entangled by self-doubt and clouded judgement. Throw in a little bit of anger and, before long, you have the perfect recipe for a disastrous round of golf.
If you're going to lower your handicap in 2022, you'll need to be in control of your emotions and learn to live by the old saying... 'the most important shot in golf is the next one.'
Improve your course management
If you can intelligently think your way around 18 holes, then it inevitably follows that you'll play better golf and, ultimately, get that handicap moving south.
Check out our separate course management tips blog piece for more tips on how to take a more considered approach to the game.
Our shiny new Course Preview feature could become your secret weapon as far as course management goes. Now, the night before every round, you can quickly take a look at the course and start piecing together your winning strategy.
To use our freshest feature - now available on iOS as well as Android - locate the course you're playing and tap the black Course Preview button. Now you'll see distance arcs helping you avoid key hazards from tee to green.
Premium Pro members can also use their Notes feature within Course Preview. Simply tap the notes icon in the top right to jot a few thoughts down.
Play new courses
Life can often get in the way of many a best-laid plan. Don't let that stop you from making ambitious goals, though. 2022 will be the year you broaden your golfing horizons and play as many new golf courses as you can.
Playing the same course over and over again can lead to golfers becoming comfortable and playing from memory. Taking on new and challenging courses will help you develop new golf skills and bring a new freshness to your golf game.
Consider taking lessons
No matter what stage your golf game is at, seeing a golf professional and having them take a fresh look at your swing will always be beneficial.
Whether you're a beginner, a struggling high-handicapper, or maybe even a single-digit golfer looking to accelerate improvement, spending an hour with a pro could help you unlock the path to your next golf milestone.
Upgrade your Hole19 experience
As well as being the perfect on-course companion for your 2022 rounds, the Hole19 app presents valuable data relating to your recent golf performance, allowing you to put together a practice plan to help improve your areas of weakness.
Three separate Hole19 Premium packages exist to provide you with a powerful set of game-enhancing features that will help you meet your true golfing potential.
We hope our list of handicap-busting tips has provided you with food for thought and wish you all the best for each of your rounds in 2022.