How closely does your practice resemble a round of golf? By adding some pressure and goals into your golf practice you can begin to see some tangible results and be more confident as you walk from the driving range to the first tee.
It’s no secret that to improve in anything, you need to practice. It’s no different in golf. In order to hit more greens and make more putts, you’re going to have to put in some time at the practice area. Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be 10,000 hours like some have said. However if you’re not practicing effectively, any time you invest in practice could be going to waste.
In order for your practice to benefit your golf game, your sessions need to include a challenge, a goal and a score. This makes your golf practice more similar to the golf course and trains your body and mind to respond to the situations you will find during a round.
When was the last time you hit twenty 7-irons in a row from a flat lie to the same target during a round of golf? Never—exactly! So let’s make practice more like the course and you can begin to take your “range game” with you to the course each time.
Here are 3 ways to energize your next range session.
Five for Five
This is a great game for the driver but can be done with any club. On the range, pick five different fairways by determining a left and right border. These should be narrower than a typical fairway on the golf course.
Going through your full pre-shot routine each time, hit one ball to each target attempting to land five out of five in the fairway. Once you miss, start over! You’ll start to feel the pressure as you progress through the shots, and that’s when you know your practice is working.
If you’re struggling to hit it in the fairway, switch clubs until you find one that you can hit straight enough and resist the temptation to starting “tinkering”.
A Lot. . .A Little
Developing better control of your golf ball is one of the center pieces of a more consistent golf game. That involves controlling the amount of curve, left to right or right to left, on your golf ball.
Choose an iron such as a 6 or 7 iron and pick a specific target on the range. Pull aside three balls and going through your pre-shot routine each time, hit the first one with a little curve (whichever direction is your preferred or desired flight), the next one with more and the third one with a lot of curve.
Your goal is to hit the three shots in a row as you planned. If you do, change targets and hit a different club with the same goal. Don’t get overly technical when trying to produce the curve. Just play around with different ways that you can put the necessary spin on the ball. You’ll be surprised at your ability to maneuver the golf ball. The next time you have an iron shot with a hazard bordering the green, you’ll be able to curve your ball away from the trouble and safely on the green.
Hit ‘em All
This is a great way to end a golf practice session. Contrary to how most players like to end their practice, standing there until you hit “one more good one” isn’t going to lead to the best results the next time you tee it up.
Starting with your highest lofted wedge and moving through your bag, hit one ball to a target with each club in your bag. As before, go through your full pre-shot routine each time and change targets after each shot.
Most importantly, NO MULLIGANS! We’re all tempting to rake another one over after a thin wedge shot or a hooked 6 iron, but we don’t get that opportunity on the course (by the Rules of Golf) so we shouldn’t get it all the time in practice. Experiencing some frustration during practice helps us deal with it more effectively during a round of golf.
Keep track of how many successful shots you hit out of 13 and try to beat your score the next time.
There’s a time and a place for repetition and technical practice, but try to avoid falling into the trap of making that 100% of your golf practice routine.
Unfortunately, we’re not robots so we’ll never be able to groove a swing that never breaks down. Because of that, we need to practice just like we play and prepare our game to meet the challenges that occur during every round of golf.
Remember…the harder the practice, the easier the game!
Article by: Dean Kandle, PGA Head Golf Professional at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, PA, Founder mygolf180.com
Dean has graciously set up a page for our GolfDash Blog readers to access more practice games and info. Just head to www.mygolf180.com/golfdash/ for more!