- Making Golf Practice Time Count
Most golfers realize that spending time on the practice range is essential to game improvement—lowering your score. But it's surprising how little time golfers devote to practice. Or maybe it's not surprising: compared to the fun and camaraderie of being out on the course, hitting a bucket or two of practice balls seems downright boring. Here are some tips to making golf practice more effective:
- Practice regularly
- Have a goal in mind
Practice regularly. Just as going to the gym once a month and lifting weights doesn't build much muscle mass (and can result in injuries), a sporadic practice regimen is unlikely to significantly improve a golfer's game. The goal of practice is twofold: improving technique and building confidence. Have you ever gone out golfing for the first time after the long, cold winter and found that the club feels like a foreign object in your hand? A consistent practice routine helps you get the “feel” for each club in the bag. And playing good golf requires building a consistent, reliable swing, ingraining that ideal swing in your muscle memory so you can repeat it as needed when you are under pressure on the course. Many golfers mistakenly think they can “build” their swing during the round. The practice range is a better place to work on game improvement, because, you can his as many shots with one club as you need to gain consistency, whereas on the course, you only hit one shot with each club (assuming you advance the ball with each swing) and then use another club on the next shot.
Have a goal in mind. In between rounds of golf, pick up the scorecard from the round and take a few minutes to review how you played each hole. What part of your game is working well? Perhaps your drives were superior, or your chipping to the green was crisp and highly accurate. Then, think about where your swing let you down. Maybe you hooked too many iron shots and missed a lot of greens. After you do this review and critique, pick the worst problem areas and write them down. Then bring the (hopefully short) list with you to the practice range. Spend additional time on the problem areas, and work on your strengths just enough to keep those skills sharp. Good golf is mostly a matter of eliminating mistakes. Pros don't hit every shot perfectly, but they do know how to reduce the chance of scoring double bogies or higher.