The key to getting better at golf is no real secret. You are going to have to practice. Now that doesn’t mean going along to a driving range and spraying a bucket of balls with your driver all over the place. That sort of “practice” will not make you a better golfer. If you really want to improve you are going to have to do regular, effective practice.
Effective practice is any practice session where before you begin you have clearly defined what you will do in that session, how you will do it and how you will measure to know if you have achieved your goal. Only once you start doing this type of practice regularly will you start to see real improvement in your golf game. So how do you devise such a practice session?
If you have researched your game correctly, you will have already identified your areas of weakness and received some instruction from a qualified golf coach on how to make positive changes to your technique. Thus your outline for an effective practice session should be:
- Warm up – Spend a few minutes warming up with some stretches followed by hitting some shots with a short iron. There are no technical thoughts during the warm up. This time is designed to get you lose and allow you to clear your mind and to remind yourself of the goals you have set for this practice session.
- Drills – Slowly work through your drills that were given to you during your last lesson. The quality of each repetition is far more important than the quantity. There should be far more practice swings than balls hit. Make the practice swings to effect the change then only hit a ball to give feedback as to how you are progressing. At this stage of your practice, ball flight results are irrelevant. All you are trying to do is change a swing pattern and feel the differences between what you used to do and what you are trying to do. Don’t get caught up trying to make good contact or making the ball go a particular way. This practice is about changing a swing pattern.
- Test – On completing your drill work it is important to check your progress. An easy way to test your improvement is to choose a club and an appropriate target and see if you can hit three shots in a row at your target. Use your full pre-shot routine and complete a drill repetition between each shot if needed. If you can play three in a row to that target choose another target and another club and try for three consecutive shots again.
Once you are able to complete the consecutive shot test on the range your next step is to take it to the course and see if your new swing will work out there. Use your full pre-shot routine as you did at the range and again feel free to complete a repetition of your drill if needed.
What you will see over time is your testing on the range will improve and you will start to play more and more good shots on the course. Keep working through this effective practice outline for every area of your game and you will be able to continually improve year after year.
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