What is golf practice?
Does practicing golf make you better?
How do you start practicing golf?
- Head to the range and practice the basic shots: Driving, fairway woods, mid-irons and wedges. Aim to hit 10 shots in a row of each.
- Find a putting and chipping green and practice 3-foot putts, longer putts and a basic chip shot. Again, aim to hit 10 shots in a row of each.
- For each skill select a target zone (or the hole) and keep a score of #of good shots that hit your target.
- Focus on making a good strike and consistent outcomes.
- Have a practice swing before each attempt.
- Try to alternate sessions between the range and playing on the course – you need both for great practice!
How to progress your golf practice?
Summarising key practice concepts
Practicing Golf – What should you focus on?
A simple guide of what to practice
- Driving 20 balls (to target fairway)
- Fairway wood/hybrid 10 balls (to target fairway)
- 5 iron 10 balls (to target green)
- 8 iron 10 balls (to target green)
- PW iron 10 balls (to target green)
- 50 yard pitch shot 10 balls (to 6ft target)
- 30 yard pitch shot 10 balls (to 6ft target)
- 15 yard bunker shot 10 balls (to 6ft target)
- 10 yard chip shot 10 balls (to 3ft target)
- 3 foot putt 20 balls (how many can you hole)
- 6 foot putt 20 balls (how many can you hole)
- 9 foot putt 20 balls (how many can you hole)
- 20 foot putt 20 balls (how many can you hole)
More detail on what to practice
Improve strengths & weaknesses
How to practice golf
Three types of golf practice
The aim of technical practice
Stages of great technical practice
- Make repetitions of your new swing in a mirror or window. Gain feedback on if you can execute the movements correctly. Begin with part practice, and slowly progress to whole practice. Slow-mo golf practice swings are really tough to do but very useful.
- Practice hitting shots in a net. This allows you to practice your new movement whilst having to make contact with the golf ball. However, we’ve removed the ball flight meaning your body cares less about where the ball ends up and allows you to keep engrain your swing change. It can be handy to vary the speed and length of swings you use during this type of practice.
- Block practice on the range. Hit 20 shots with a 7-iron to the 150 yard marker. Follow this with 20 pitching wedges to the 100 yard marker…you get the idea. This stable practice environment allows your body to learn to hit more accurate golf shots with your new swing changes.
- Varied practice on the range. This next step adds more variability and decision making to your golf practice. It involves mixing up your shot selection and clubs you use. You may choose five 7-irons, followed by five Drivers… Or you may keep the same club and hit different shots – low, draw/fade etc. During this type of golf practice you will make more errors, but it will help make your new movement pattern more robust and transfer on to the golf course. You can read more about the contextual interference effect and transfer of learning here.
- Practice on the course – Your aim here is to still focus on making correct movements, but you now have the most realistic of all practice environments – the golf course. What you lose on the golf course is the number of reps, so where possible, try to hit an extra few shots to refine your swing changes in play.
The aim of skill development practice
What does skill development practice look like?
- A clear performance goal (optimise chipping accuracy, refine iron distance control, reduce wayward drives).
- Have a scoring system that rewards you for great shots.
- Have a set amount of shots or time to complete the task.
- Allow you to repeat week after week to track your progress.
The aim of pressure practice
The same skills games, a different focus
- Where do you miss? (short, long, left, right)
- What happens technically?
- Did your thought process or routine deviate?
- Were you too blasé, or too intense in your thinking?
- How could you have dealt with it better?
- Having negative thoughts is fine and normal. It is how quickly you can get back to focusing on your process that counts.
- Research with elite golfers has shown that the same coping strategy, for the same player, in the same situation is not always successful a second time. Meaning you’ll need to develop a range of tools to help you perform well under pressure – there isn’t one magic bullet.
How much should I use each type of practice?
Practicing golf – putting it all together
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