Five tips that can enhance your golf game

There's never been a better time for the game of golf. According to popular golf publication Golf Digest, interest in the sport has peaked over the past two years as it added half a million people to its rosters. The spike in popularity signaled golf's biggest jump in nearly two decades.

While golf has long enjoyed a devoted following, as the numbers suggest, more new golfers are hitting the practice range and course as they fall in love with the sport. They couldn't have picked a better one, either, as technological advancements with golf equipment have made the game far more forgiving than years past.

For as popular as golf has grown over recent years, one aspect that greets both seasoned players and newcomers alike is the mental tenacity it requires. Simply put, it's a highly challenging game that rewards dedication and practice.

Here are a handful of ways to improve your golf game:

1. Visualize your swing

This sounds simple, but easy sometimes does the trick. The beginning and end of a good hole or round of golf start with the swing. Seasoned players create a personal pre-shot routine that includes visualizing their swing. It doesn't require more than 10 seconds, either.

Before you attempt a swing, take a look at the ball. Then, visualize the path you want to take with the direction of your shot. From there, picture yourself gripping the golf club. Then, in your mind, pull it back as you would in real-time and follow through with your shot. It sounds simple, but visualizing your swing gives you a mental advantage. You don't need to be at the golf course to do it, either — you can do it anywhere!

2. Make sure your clubs fit properly

Anyone who has worn ill-fitting shoes during an athletic event knows just how distracting it can be, not to mention a detriment to your potential. Well, golf clubs aren't any different. Those taking up the sport for the first time usually grab whichever clubs are easiest to procure, but that could come at a cost. Ill-fitting golf clubs not only hurt your swing and shot but playing with them consistently can lead to bad habits that are difficult to shake later on.

Contrary to popular belief, a proper club fitting doesn't cost an arm or a leg. Your body and your game will thank you. According to Out of Bounds Golf, the average cost of a full-bag fitting is $275. Distance control, longer shots, and better habits will follow.

3. Use a golf simulator

In a perfect world, golfers would be able to spend every waking moment on the course. Unfortunately, that's just impossible. There is, however, a way to bring the course to you. Golf simulators such as the SwingLogic SLX MicroSim allow you to do just that, and you can purchase this particular golf sim for $204.99.

This 4K home simulator comes with a smart stick club that mimics your swing, and it'll record your 3D swing analytics with a 0.12-second reaction time to boot. The swing stick makes for an excellent trainer, but you can also attach the included cradle to practice with your real clubs when you finally get the chance to visit the driving range or course.

Practice your game at a number of virtually recreated world-famous golf courses around the globe. You can play via single-player or have friends and family join in on your rounds. It's the perfect tool for staying current on your golf game during the winter months or when your schedule just can't permit trips to the course. This simulator has a rating of 4.4 stars on Amazon.

4. Practice with a purpose

Practicing without a purpose is like jumping in your car and driving around without a clear destination. With anything in life, practice breeds familiarity. Honing in on a specific goal or benchmark will inch you closer to mastery. Therefore, you should build and insert a concentrated practice routine in between your golf rounds. 

If you struggle to consistently hit yourself out of the rough, chart a regiment that addresses that. If you pull your tee shots to the right far too frequently, emphasize that during your subsequent practice sessions. Going to the driving range and putting greens make for a lot of fun, but it is better to have a specific focus to maximize the precious hours you spend training.

5. Learn how to read the greens

Ask any golfer the secret to success on the course, and mostly all of them will tell you it involves being proficient on the putting green. The greens have ended many golfing careers before they even started. The most efficient putters in the game are those who have mastered the art of reading the green. Thankfully, there are many ways to learn to do so, and they don't cost a penny.

There is no shortage of articles that explain how to read the greens with your feet, establish insurance reads, gauge the speed of a green, etc. Putting doesn't have to be a necessary evil, and learning to read the green properly will significantly enhance your golfing success.

Prices subject to change.