Not only does your score suffer, so does your wallet. Plus, losing a golf ball can easily throw you off your game in the middle of the round. It’s easy to let your momentum disappear after a lost ball.
Not to mention, in 2019 the USGA is rolling out the new rules which reduces the amount of time to look for a golf ball from five minutes to three minutes. This is nearly half the amount of time!
If you’re tired of screwing up a great round and getting out of sync, I want to share with you some easy ways to stop losing golf balls. Here’s how you can save money and shoot lower scores quickly.
Like I mentioned, losing a golf ball can be a round killer. And it costs money so it stings even more. Here are some of the easiest ways to stop losing golf balls (assuming you are not using a caddy).
This sounds so simple but it’s amazing how many amateur golfers make this mistake. In fact, we’ve all done it. You’re on the tee on a tight hole and you miss big. Instead of watching it land, you’re so disgusted with yourself that you don’t even want to watch where the ball ends up.
While it’s easy to stop watching as soon as you hit a bad one, it’s not a good habit. You’re going to lose more, frustrate fellow playing partners, and probably score worse as you lose more balls. It’s incredibly important to watch the ball all the way until it lands, even if it is a shot you’d like to forget.
Once it lands, try to find a tree, power box or something to identify a general area for where it ended up. This way it will give you a more specific area or tree to find it by instead of seeing it go in the middle of the forest.
Once you have an identifying target, then you can drive or walk straight to it without wasting time. There’s not much worse than playing with someone who relies on his partners to find the ball.
Newsflash, no one cares about your golf ball as much as you do.
Everyone is trying to play their own game and lost balls make it easy to get the group out of sync and behind time. Golf already takes enough time, don’t make it longer.
Here’s another simple and easy approaching to finding more golf balls. If you’re searching for a golf ball in the deep stuff, it’s easy to walk right over it from one direction and find when you’re walking back. Try and patrol the general area from several angles to give yourself the best chances of finding it.
If you’re riding in a golf cart make sure to get out and walk in one direction while your partner goes in another direction. This will give you the best chances of finding your ball if a bush or long grass is covering a portion of it.
Let’s face it, losing golf balls is frustrating. It’s so easy to get mad when you’re swinging poorly and already donated a sleeve of new Titleist balls to the course. But getting mad and flustered isn’t going to make things worse (as I’m sure you probably know from previous experience). Instead, you need to take some deep breaths and try to stay cool even if you’re swinging poorly.
When you hit a bad shot, let it go. It’s not the end of the world and you’re probably not competing for a green jacket at Augusta. Remain calm, keep breathing, and have fun so you hit better shots and stop losing golf balls.
Besides, when’s the last time you ever played good when you were angry?
If you’re playing with strangers when you’re on the course it might feel awkward to ask for help when you’re spraying the golf ball all over. But don’t’ be afraid to ask for help, especially if you’re playing a course for the first time.
If you’re watching it land, staying calm, and trying your best, they’re going to be much more receptive to help you find it.
Here are some fundamentals to the game that will also help you get your swing back if you’re in a funk and losing too many golf balls.
In the most basic sense, you’re losing golf balls because you’re hitting in the water, OB or thick stuff which means your swing is off. While the tips above are helpful, I want to also help you stop losing golf balls and start focusing on “why” is happening.
If you want to stop losing golf balls, you need to take a look at the big five fundamentals. The more consistent these are, the more likely you’ll hole the final putt on 18 with the same ball as you began the round with.
A recurring theme on The Left Rough is alignment because it’s such a huge factor in all areas of the game. And it’s also one of the most common mistakes most amateur golfers make. If your alignment is off you’re going to have to make some bad swing moves to try and hit it straight.
Work on your alignment in practice and pre-round with alignment sticks. Always use them when you’re on the range. Otherwise, this bad habit can easily turn into a regular move and result in a ton of lost golf balls. If you’re struggling, have a friend video your swing so you can start checking your alignment.
Once you can take away poor alignment from the equation, the next thing you should evaluate is your clubface at impact. If you can’t square the clubface you’re probably never going to stop losing golf balls.
Plus, the longer the club, the easier it is to get the ball offline quickly and end up the thick stuff, water or out of bounds. I’m sure you noticed that you lose a lot more balls with your driver than your wedge! Check out this article on how to square your clubface.
Amateur golfers love hitting balls on the range. Usually a lot of golf balls, often ingraining bad habits over and over again. But highly skilled players have very different practice routines.
Not only do they focus on hitting quality shots (not striping a jumbo bucket) but they focus on practicing their routine, even on the range. A great pre-shot routine can help you decrease tension, relax, and stay focused even late in the round. If you watch the PGA Tour I’m sure you’ve noticed how consistent they are with routines, regardless of if it’s a Thursday or Sunday afternoon.
Your routine should be your best friend on the course. Start by checking where the trouble is on the shot before you even begin your routine. You can identify where you want the ball to end up and where there is trouble. Use this information to create your tee box strategy.
This is huge because it can help you focus on where you want to the ball to go. Most players focus on where they don’t want the ball to go. The only problem is your mind doesn’t understand negatives like “don’t go in the water.”
With a pre-shot routine, you can clearly identify and visualize where the ball is supposed to end up. This will give your mind a clear shot you’re trying to pull off.
In your pre-shot routine, set up, pick a small target, and focus on where you want the ball to go. Once you’re standing over it, look at the target and go. Don’t wait, it’ll only increase nerves and tension.
If you’re losing a lot of golf balls, I’d bet your tempo is probably out of sync. Have you noticed that the harder you try and swing the more often you lose golf balls? This happens more and more with amateur players, especially when it comes to hitting the driver.
But your tempo shouldn’t change too much from a wedge to a driver. Sure, it’ll be a little faster but not much. Overall, you want to have the same 1-2 tempo with every shot you hit.
Focus on your tempo, especially if it’s windy, to keep the ball in play and on the course.
The last tip to help you stop losing golf balls is to simply know your game and your own capabilities. If you take the “manliness” out of the game sometimes and I can almost promise you’ll shoot lower scores. The more you know your favorite clubs and shots, the easier it is to keep the ball in play.
If you don’t’ play much don’t sweat it. Just don’t try to hit hero shots that have a low chance of being pulled off during the round. Practice the hard stuff more on the range and short game area so you can improve your skills and confidence on the course. Don’t try to hit the hero shot on 18 when you might make a double or triple bogey.
Whether that means playing hybrids, not hitting driver on tight holes, or chipping instead of pitching, play within your own abilities. If your buddies try to give you a hard time, don’t’ worry about it you’re probably going to end up beating them!
While these tips are helpful, losing golf balls is an inevitable part of the game. Remember, even the pros do it so it’s only natural for you to do it as well sometimes.
The main focus for you should be to watch the ball land, pick a specific target, and help your competitors when they lose some too. Karma goes a long way in golf!
If losing balls is becoming a habit, make sure you look at the big five fundamentals, especially the pre-shot routine. Pick a small and precise target before every shot to hit it where you want it to go, not where you don’t want it to end up.
If you want to replenish your ammo, check out our review of the best golf balls on the market. But if all else fails, think about picking up some Used Golf Balls or a golf ball retriever to save yourself a little cash!