Many golfers go to the driving range to “practice”, yet few seem to have an effective way to get the most out of this session. Golfers “beat balls” in the quest to find their swing.
However, many times they are left trying the latest tip from a golf magazine, the internet, or a buddy. The method of their practice session is arbitrary and without direction. This process is often repeated over and over. What if there was a better way to attack your practice session? There is.
There are four keys to focus on in your practice session. Improving these keys will improve your ability to control the ball and improve your game.
Key 1: Center Contact
In a previous article for USGOLFTV I stressed the importance of hitting the center of the face. Invest in a can of foot spray and start to learn how to find the center of the club. You can always make smaller swings until you can consistently hit the center and then build upon that.
Key 2: Face Control
Quite possibly one of my favorite things to have students do. Pick a target (50 or 75 or 100 yard marker) and aim straight at the target. Then hits balls that start left of the target, at the target, and right of the target never changing your alignment.
This drill will make you more aware of the face of the club at impact, which contributes 75-80% of the balls initial start direction. If you are able to control the face at impact you are well on your way to being able to control your shots.
Key 3: Path Control
One of the easiest things to change in golf is the path. Most people associate path with the plane of the swing. While there is some correlation between the two the path of the club I am referring to is the direction the clubhead is traveling as it strikes the ball. The clubhead could be swinging to the left, at the target, or to the right.
The easiest way to practice changing the path is by changing your alignment. Aim far enough to the right and the club will swing to the right regardless of your swing. Aim far enough to the left and the club will swing to the left. Practice changing your aim to change your path.
Key 4: Mixing Bowl
Now you get to put it all together, focusing on all three keys. Practice aiming well to the right and making the ball go left. Aim well to the left and make the ball go to the right. Aim straight and make the ball go straight. Vary your aim every other shot. Vary where the ball starts every other shot.
By practicing this way you will learn new shots. You will learn how to maneuver the ball. Your focus will be on controlling the ball rather than a myriad of swing mechanics. Equally important you will know how to make adjustments on the course when certain patterns show up.
Use these four keys to structure your practice sessions. Spend 25% of your time focusing on each key. Key #4 is the most fun. That is also a KEY, keep it fun, enjoy the process, and practice like never before.