I believe the biggest reason many golfers never achieve their potential on the links, is not that they don’t practice but they practice badly. The most common club I see hit at the driving range is the driver. How many times do you use it through 18 holes? 12 max? More like 3 or 4 if you play sensibly! So should it be a priority area for your practice? Probably not.
Which leads me to the first of my 4 tips for effective efficient practice sessions:
1. Fix what’s broken the worstest firstest. I’ve said before that it can be a great idea to record statistics on your golf. How many fairways did you hit? Greens in regulation? Putts? 3 Putts? Sand saves? Up and downs? Etc. This makes it really easy to see what part of your game needs the most work. Still unsure? Why not arrange a playing lesson with a golf instructor who will be able to help you identify your target areas.
2. Get some help. Once you’ve decided what part of your game you need to work on, get some help with it. There’s nothing worse than making swing changes yourself unless you are certain they’re right. You don’t want to be the guy on competition day wondering if the changes you worked hard to make have just made things worse.
3. Set yourself goals. A lot of you will have long-term goals already, and well done if you have acknowledged them. “I want to break 100, 90, 80 or par this year.” It’s a scary task though. So break it down. Set 6-month, 3-month and 1-month goals. Even set goals for each practice session. You might say, “This year I want to break 90 so by July I want to break 95. By next month I want to have no 3 putts in a round, so by the end of this practice session I will have improved my long putts to eliminate 3 putts.”
4. Take your practice seriously. Arrive prepared with water, a Power Bar or fruit, clean equipment and decent glove. Warm up first (see previous posts): dynamic stretches, small swings to start and allow yourself to find your rhythm. This one is up to you but I always wear full golf clothing to range, chipping green, putting green or wherever I’m practicing. It helps me to get in the feel and it could help you, too. A few little steps could make a big difference.
5. Little and often. I must say I’m guilty of falling into the trap of spending hours and hours practicing in one session and not wanting to leave, then not making it back again for a few days. Try to schedule in a 45 – 75 minute session several times a week. This way you won’t burn out or injure yourself, and you’ll see better long term results.
Hopefully these tips will help your practice sessions this year and see you hitting your golfing goals.
Photo Credit: Photo by Dereck Bradley at Flickr Creative Commons.