10 Things Every Serious Golfer Needs to Improve

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Bob Hope once said, If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf. Golf is a game of skill, and all the seasoned pros have learned to master a combination of techniques and essential tools. But whether you are a novice or have been at it for years with no luck, if you want to be a serious golfer, here are the 10 things you need to improve your game.

1. Sharpie or stencil

A Sharpie is a good tool to use to identify your own golf balls from the others on the course. An even smarter idea is to buy a golf ball stencil, which allows you to draw alignment lines with accuracy.

2. Golf rules handbook

Things can get heated when it comes to disputing a rule, and it's hard to do it without a rule book in hand. There are several official guides, but Golf Advisor recommends the Golf Rules Quick Reference guide by Yves Ton ($12.99).

3. Golf alignment rods

You are not a serious golfer if you don't have a nice set of alignment rods. Alignment rods improve your swing by allowing you to line up your club perfectly with the golf ball. They are also great for practicing shots closer to the putt, since they allow you to line your shot directly in the direction of the goal. While the rods come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, David Nesbitt, certified PGA instructor, recommends buying fiberglass alignment rods with a pointed end on one side and flat end on the other side. Popular brand Tour Sticks retail for about $15.99.

4. Rangefinder/GPS

A GPS tracker or Rangefinder is a must-have for serious golfers. If you don't want to spend your days looking around trees, dodging sprinklers or digging through sand, you must get some sort of electronic measuring device. Some of the most advanced devices have laser pointers attached, but you can pick one up for a couple hundred dollars.

golfer using smartphone in cart

5. Golf apps

There may be some skepticism as to how effective apps are in performance sports, but there are several golf apps that have been proven to show results. Apps like SwingSmart connect to a sensor that you can purchase to track your swing data, and will allow certified golf professionals to give you feedback you can use to improve your swing. Apps like Thinq Golf mentally train your brain for golf, while other apps keep track of your shots.

6. Good weather

There is nothing like bad weather to throw you off your game. Atlas TravelCast™ is a weather-tracking app that uses historical weather pattern data to predict typical temperature, wind, and precipitation so you can find out the best days to play for any golf course in the world! You can also see the top dates to play a specific course, suggested alternative dates, and the yearly weather outlook for your chosen course.

7. International experiences

If you want to be a serious golfer, consider taking your game abroad. It's a good idea to expose yourself to the world of golf, and that means experiencing it outside the United States. While rules may vary slightly in some countries, going on an international golf trip could be the very thing that sets you apart from your competition. International players might have more refined techniques or equipment, and international courses offer beautiful landscapes.

If you do plan to play overseas, consider travel medical insurance. HCCMIS offers Atlas Golf, travel medical insurance exclusively for international golfers. With a rainfall benefit for above-average rainfall, equipment coverage, and up to $2 million in medical coverage, you can rest easy on your golf trip abroad.

golf clubs in bag

8. The right clubs

If you're hanging on to worn out clubs, tees, and other equipment, it could be the reason you aren't achieving your best performance. If you have a shaft that doesn't bend, experience loose gripping, chipping, or just aren't hitting balls like you used to, it's probably time to invest in new clubs. Golf Dash recommends replacing clubs every four years.

9. Instruction

If you've ever thought about turning pro, then you should definitely consider taking golf instruction from an academy or an experienced mentor. You'll have the advantage of learning techniques that will give you an edge over your competition. And while nothing is better than learning in person, there are sufficient apps that can get you started. My Pro To Go is a top-rated app for lesson-by-lesson instruction on all things golf. It's also free (and available on iPhone and Android).

10. Consistent practice

woman golfer taking shot

The number one thing you can do to improve your golf game is to practice. None of the pros got to be great by just walking outside and hitting birdies immediately. Golf is a game of skill and patience. If you just want to practice once every couple of weeks or whenever you have free time, you are not going to make it as a serious golfer. You have to be willing to put in hours upon hours to get the techniques down pat. All of these tips, tools, and gadgets don't mean anything if you do not take the time to master the techniques.

You don't have to be a seasoned golf pro to be a serious golfer. Whether you are just starting out or are years in, you can take several steps to make the next game a par-fect hit.

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