by Derek Hooper
None of us have enough time to waste practicing poorly. If the goal is to improve your golf game then you need to get the most out of every minute you have available to practice. That means that every practice swing you make and every ball you strike should be hit with purpose and a specific swing thought that is in place to help you play better golf. That means you are employing effective practice habits.
Every time you visit the range to practice, you should have a plan for what you will practice, and thus accomplish from that session. If your goal is to hit a large bucket of balls with your driver, this is not practice. It is exercise. An effective practice session will have you doing drills, practice swings, pre-shot routine, hitting varying clubs to varying targets with a set objective in mind. An example of such a practice session is outlined below:
1. Decide how much total time you have available for this practice session.
2. The first 40% of your time should be spent on drills and practice swings. There should be at least two practice swings for every ball hit. At this point your focus should be more about the quality of the move you are trying to improve rather than the quality of the ball flight. As the move improves so will the ball flight. Be sure not to get caught up in it being all about the ball flight at this stage as it will be too easy for you to revert back to your old swing for the sake of some short term ball flight improvement. Stick with the long term plans you and your coach have in place.
4. Give every shot and practice swing your fullest attention – quality is more important than quantity.
5. Spend 30% of your time hitting different clubs to different targets. For each shot take practice swings and go through your full pre-shot routine. Don’t hit the same club to the same target more than twice in a row.
6. Spend 10% of your time playing a game. If you are at a range with target greens, select a target and the appropriate club and going through your full pre-shot routine try to hit the ball on the target green. Then change targets and clubs and repeat the exercise. How many targets can you hit in a row?
7. Spend 20% of your practice time with the fairway woods and driver. Have practice swings before every shot, and have a set goal. For example, how many balls out of 10 can I hit between two designated targets at the end of the range?
Remember that the purpose of practice is to help you get better, not simply to exercise. Follow the above guideline and every time you visit the driving range, practice effectively with long-term improvement as your goal and better golf will be your reward.
Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.