Five Breakthrough Practice Ideas


Target practiceDo you leave most of your good shots on the range?  Having trouble taking that good form to the golf course?  You’re not alone.

One of the key elements of training for any sport is specificity.  That means you are trying to make your training is much like competition as possible.  Basketball star Michael Jordan said that he was able to make playing basketball look easy because his training was tougher than the matches themselves.

Other than the fact they are hitting a golf ball, most golfers’ practice bears very little resemblance to what they do on the golf course.

Here are five ways to guarantee you will play better on the golf course simply by changing how you practice.

Reduce time on technique

Most golfers’ practice involves reacting from one shot to the next.  If the first shot is a slice, the next is a swing which avoids a slice.  A better approach is to persist with whatever swing thoughts and drills you are currently working on with your coach.  Continually responding to shots is a surefire way that your practice session will end in tears.

Randomise your practice

Every shot you play on the golf course involves a change in lie, distance, club or target.  Sometimes all four change with each shot.

When you are practising spend a third of your time changing club, target and shot shape.  This makes you constantly recalibrate your set up and swing.  The challenge for many players is thinking their swing will become unsettled by this type of practice.  In fact, it does the opposite.

Practice all parts of your game

The practice plans I write divide the game into long game, short game and putting.  A three-hour plan will have one hour devoted to each area.  This gives a balanced approach to development.  Without a plan most players will spend their entire time working on their full swing.  Worse than that, most of the full swing work will be on technique.  This means your golfing brain is never engaged in the same way it would be when you are on the golf course.

Measure your progress

If you have a goal to reduce your putting average, then to ensure your practice is effective, you need some way to record improvement in practice.

For example, record the number of putts you hole on the golf course in the following ranges 0-1 m, 1-2 m, 2-3 m.  Record the number of putts you have each round in these ranges as well is the number that you hole to get a percentage.

In practice do this drill: set 10 balls around the hole at 1 metre, 10 balls at 2 metres and 10 balls at 3 metres.  Count how many putts you hole from each range in each practice session.  Measure your progress in practice and see if it translates to improved putting on the golf course.

If,you spend a short amount of time on your putting technique, green reading and routine in addition to the drill, you can guarantee your putting will improve in each of those distances.

Practising in the ways I suggested above increases the intensity of each training session.  Mentally, this is hard work.  Maybe that’s why the vast majority of players (including a lot of professionals) practice in a boring repetitive fashion and then wonder why practice doesn’t work.  Make changes to your practice in the way I’ve suggested and you should see your scoring averages drop immediately.


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