Golf is hard, no doubt, but most of us hit several good-to-great shots per round. That's what keeps us coming back, right? But taking your game to the next level requires hitting good shots in succession. It's the only way to improve your scoring.

The problem many amateurs face is that golf poses shifting requirements from one shot to the next. After hitting driver off a tee, you must hit an iron shot from the fairway. Next you might face a chip onto the green, then a putt – and each shot involves a different club and technique.

Of course, the more you play and practice, the more proficient you'll become. Your swing will get more consistent, and you'll develop a feel for distances. But mixing up your practice routine can help you adapt to the variables you'll encounter on the course.

The vast majority of golfers practice using the “blocked” method, hitting a series of shots with one club, then repeating with another club and so on through the set. While this builds muscle memory and ingrains proper technique, it doesn't mirror the flow of an actual round of golf.

“Random” practice can do just that. Instead of hitting shot after shot with one club and moving on, random practice involves changing clubs after each swing. For example, start by hitting your driver, then an 8-iron, then a sand wedge. Or go 3-wood, then 5-iron. Visualize holes on your home course and “play” them on the range, using the same clubs you typically use on those holes.

Random practice works for the short game, too. Rather than chipping for 15 minutes before switching to the putter, emulate how it works on the course – chip onto the green, then finish out with the putter, and repeat.

You should absolutely devote some of your time to blocked practice, working on specific drills to develop a consistent, repeating swing. But mix in a few random practice sessions and you'll better translate those skills to the golf course.

Nearly every golfer is capable of hitting a good shot.

How to String Together Good Shots on the Golf Course

Even if you are a beginner, you can probably think of a time or two where everything came together perfectly and you hit exactly the shot you had in mind. These might be rare occasions, but they do happen from time to time. In fact, one of the things that keeps golfers coming back round after round is the glimmer of hope they find in these moments. Hitting even just one great shot over the duration of an 18-hole round might be enough to lead you to make another tee time for next weekend.

Of course, if you are going to improve your game and lower your scores, you will need to hit more than one good shot during a round. You'll need to hit many good shots, and you'll need to be able to string them together, one after the next. It is these strings of good shots that have the power to dramatically change your game moving forward. When you line up a number of good shots in a row, you can make pars and birdies, rather than bogeys and doubles.

As you already know, it is not an easy task to string together a long line of good golf shots. This is a difficult game, and your swing can seemingly disappear from one shot to the next. It takes a combination of skill and experience to hit a number of solid shots consecutively. Even professional golfers frequently get frustrated with their inability to play consistently from hole to hole and from day to day. Don't be too hard on yourself if your current level of consistency is not meeting with your expectations. Golf is one of the hardest games in the world, and everyone struggles at one time or another.

In this article, we are going to offer some advice on how you string together good shots more frequently. We have included a variety of tips and strategies in this article, so feel free to pick and choose the advice that seems to apply most directly to your game. Even if you only take one or two of our tips and put them into action in your game, that may be enough to make a significant difference on the scorecard.

All of the content below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Challenges

The Challenges

There are a number of reasons why it is tough to play quality golf shots one after the next. On the surface, it seems like this should be pretty easy. If you've just made a good swing on the previous shot, why can't you do it again? To be sure, many golfers have been extremely frustrated by this question over the years. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this should be easy to accomplish. Nothing in golf is easy, and that includes the task of trying to hit consecutive good shots.

The list below highlights some of the key issues that you will face when trying to string together a run of quality shots.

  • Time. Plain and simple, time is not on your side when trying to get on a roll in this game. As you know, golf takes a significant amount of time to play, and there is often going to be several minutes between shots (especially full-swing shots). Let's say, for example, you have hit a beautiful tee shot on a long par four. You used your driver, and sent the ball 250-yards down the middle of the fairway. That is a great feeling, of course, and you are optimistic about hitting a nice approach onto the green. However, one of the other players in your group hits a bad drive, and you wind up spending several minutes looking for their ball. By the time you actually get to your ball and prepare to play your shot, you've forgotten all about the rhythm you had on the tee. You wind up rushing through the swing, making poor contact, and missing the green entirely. Even though you made a great swing to start the hole, enough time passed between shots that you lost your tempo and fell back into some bad habits. This kind of thing happens frequently in golf, so you have to know how to deal with it properly. We'll talk more about how to deal with time delays later in the article.
  • Variety. Another issue is the fact that you are rarely going to be hitting the same type of shot twice in a row on the golf course. Even when you are putting, your second putt is going to (hopefully) be much shorter than your first putt. Since golfers are constantly required to change the types of shots they are playing, it is hard to get into a groove. To continue the example from the previous point, let's say that you hit that perfect drive and didn't have any delays on the way up to your second shot. Even if that is the case, you are still switching from a driver to a mid- or short-iron. The swing you use to hit a pitching wedge, for example, is quite different from the swing you use with your driver on the tee. Making this transition is not easy for all players, so this is another point where you can be thrown off track.
  • Pressure. As the good shots start to stack up, you may feel pressure to keep the streak going. Much of golf is about dealing with internal pressure, and many amateur players struggle to block out that pressure while focusing on the task at hand. We are going to continue with the same example from above, but we are going to take it a step further. Not only have you hit a great drive on this par four, but you also birdied the previous hole, which was a par five. You are now on a nice little roll, with a birdie in the bank and another perfect tee shot to your credit. Ideally, you will stay focused and keep making good swings for as long as possible. In reality, however, you may start to think about your streak and question how long you can keep it going. Having even a momentary lapse in confidence could be enough to lead to a poor shot with your next swing. Playing good golf is a huge mental challenge, and much of the difficulty stems from needing to stay confident hole after hole.

If you have ever watched a golf tournament on TV, you will know that even professional golfers can have a hard time staying on a roll once they get going. It is relatively common to see a player run off a string of good holes, including several birdies, only to have that good work undone by an ugly shot that leads to a double bogey – or worse. This issue affects both pros and amateur alike simply because it is hard to play good golf for extended periods of time. While you may not be able to make the good times last forever, the advice we offer in the next section could help you stay on a roll for a bit longer than you have in the past.

Basic Strategies

Basic Strategies

Now that we have clearly explained this problem, it's time to get down to the business of finding a solution. What can you do to overcome, or at least mitigate this issue while on the course? It might not be easy, but it is possible to maintain extended runs of good play when you have a plan in mind.

Consider the following tips and use the ones that you feel apply best to your game.

  • Develop a strong pre-shot routine. This is one of the best ways to maintain both your focus and rhythm during a round of golf. With a pre-shot routine, you are going to go through the same routine prior to each swing you make. That means you'll make the same kinds of practice movements, you'll work through a consistent mental checklist, and you'll even walk up to the ball in the same manner. Virtually all professional golfers use a pre-shot routine of some kind, and you should do the same. It is widely accepted in the game that using a routine is one of the strongest options for improving your consistency. Once you have built and mastered your routine, you can execute it the same way prior to every single shot. That is going to bring you a sense of comfort and familiarity before all of your swings, and hopefully those feelings will lead to improved results.
  • See each hole as its own challenge. If you think too much about your overall score while on the course, you are going to get into trouble. Rather than thinking about the entire round, do your best to separate out each hole into its own unique challenge. So, even if you hit great shots on the previous hole, you don't need to be thinking about that now. Just focus on the task at hand, play this single hole to the best of your ability, and then move on. If you can go about it this way, you may avoid the pressure that comes with feeling like you are 'on a roll'. You will just play one hole, do your best, and then repeat that process on the next hole. It won't be easy at first to approach your rounds this way, but over time you can change your mindset and learn to play the game a single hole at a time.
  • Pick conservative shots. This might be a surprising strategy, but it is one which can work quite well. During rounds where you seem to be swinging nicely and feel confident about your game, you should actually consider picking conservative targets and relatively safe shots if you can. In doing this, you will make it more likely that each shot will have a positive outcome, and you will keep your positive feelings going for as long as possible. Unfortunately, many golfers go the other direction, with ugly results. Thinking that they are playing well enough to take on risky shots, this player winds up in trouble as a result of being too aggressive. In golf, taking the aggressive line rarely pays off as well as you think it might. Remain patient and conservative, give yourself large targets, and stay on track for as many holes as you can.

You don't have to do anything complicated in order to improve your odds of stringing together good shots. In fact, the tips we have provided above are not only helping for staying on a roll, but they are simply good tips to apply to your golf game overall.