Improving Your Golf Play Part 3 – Practice

On last golf play improvement posts we covered the importance of having golf lessons and choosing the right equipment – but its simply not enough. The bad news is that you really must practice if you are serious about improving your game. Have you noticed how the better players seem to practice more than they play? This really is the only sure way to improve and become a  good golfer. But most of us hate to practice, or just don’t have the time. When you are free for golf, you want to play.

Never fear, the GG Guru is convinced that if you learn to practice intelligently you can make much better use of limited time on the range and on the practice green. (I even know people who enjoy practice more than the real game!)

First of all, come to the practice area with an objective in mind. If this is just before a round of golf, that objective should only be to warm up and to get the feel of hitting a few crisp shots. This is not the time for any serious practice. When you do choose to practice apart from a round of golf, do so with a purpose. Don’t just reach for your driver and whack away at the ball. It is much better to identify an area of your game that needs work and focus on that.

But don’t make it a chore. Find ways to have fun on the range. Ideally you should practice with a buddy. Make some competition on the driving range – nearest to a selected target, using different clubs for a variety of shots, e.g. getting closest to a 100 yard target using anything from a wedge to a 5 iron, hitting the longest drive, bending the ball left to right and right to left and so forth.

And don’t just beat bucket after bucket of balls. You might get some exercise that way, but you will likely not be improving your game. You could end up with a sore back as well…  Think about what you want to accomplish on the range. When you feel that you understand that shot and can hit it a few times to your satisfaction, quit and move on to something else. Trust me, this is the way to learn and to groove that swing.

If your time is limited, the best practice investment you can make is for the short game. Think about how many shots you take each round from 50 yards and in. This is where you can really improve. So on the range, practice pitches to various targets. Develop a comfort level in those shots. Most importantly, devote most of your practice time to the chipping and putting green. Practice a variety of chip shots from various lies, using different clubs to develop the necessary feel.

Practice lags putts and then concentrate on sinking those 4 footers. Hit some putts with your eyes closed to help develop feel. And again you should try to make the practice fun. On the putting green, set a score to beat, e.g. you must sink 10 balls from 20 feet in no more than 20 strokes, then move to 15 feet and set a target of 15 strokes, and then to 10 feet when you must sink all 10 putts. Not easy to do and you can set the targets as you wish, but the point is that this helps to focus your attention and gets those competitive juices flowing!

Spend some quality time practicing and not only will your scores go down on the course, but the game will become much more fun. Now it is on to the course, the subject of our next blog.

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