Golf practice routine – 3 practice routines to lower your scores

We all know the key to improving our golf is to practice; and to practice well. However, knowing what golf practice routine to use is tricky. After googling ‘golf practice routines’ I decided that there wasn’t a good article for golfers with different time constraints.

In this article I will give you three weekly golf practice routines based on your ability and how much time you have you have to invest into your golf game.

You can screen shot any or all of the routines and start improving your golf today. These routines can also be used to support your development with the Golf Insider Performance Diary.

Each works on the premise that you will play one ‘fun’ game of golf a week, and then have the additional time below to practice effectively. The links below take you to the plan at the end of each section. However, if you’re here to improve your golf, and learn about how to execute golf practice routines, I suggest your read the whole article.

Golf practice routine – 1 hour a week

For most of us time is the biggest factor preventing us from practicing our golf and lowering our scores. Life can get busy, but can you find a golf practice routine to improve your golf with one hour a week? I think so.

The video below is my original answer when I was asked this very question on Reddit golf. I still stand by my two points in this video. Within your one hour you need to:

  1. Keep your basics in order: grip, alignment & posture. This can be done in 10 minutes at the range with a golf club or alignment stick placed on the ground.
  2. Focus on one area of weakness. Use a skills game to improve this attribute within the same range session.

You can watch the video reply below. But for those of you who want to max out this hour golf practice routine (and possibly stretch it to 1 hour 15 mins a week) keep reading below the video.

Once you have a swift range session in place there are two more essential areas to cover within your hour practice routine. Golf putting and chipping. These practices can be fitted into another two 10 minute slots.

Golf putting practice routine

Golf putting is similar to your long game. You need an effective 10 minute practice routine one evening to keep your grip, posture and alignment in place. I suggest you create your own version of this putting drill to play at home (having it at home gives you no excuses to complete it). Or you can mock up something similar on your golf club putting green. You can read the full article on this great golf putting drill here.

The key point of a drill like this it two fold:

  1. It keeps your basics in order.
  2. If you keep a score (I used to count how many putts I hit my target in a row), it will build your putting confidence in very little time.

Lastly, in your hour-ish of practice you need to have a way to maintain and refine your golf chipping. The following drill can be adapted to almost any chipping or putting green. It can also be completed in 5-10 minutes before or after your round each week.

Use it to work on the key shots that you face during a round. Or if your chipping is already a strength, focus on a shot you wish to improve. If you can complete 20 shots each week you will be amazed how quickly your chipping improves.

 

There you have it. A one hour/one hour 20 minute golf practice routine that will help you improve your golf. You just need to follow those simple steps each week.

Below is a summary for your to screenshot. Click on it to expand the image.

 

Golf practice routine – One hour screenshot

golf practice routine - one hour
An example golf practice routine for playing once with one hour a week practice.

Golf practice routine – 3 hours a week

If you have three hours a week to dedicate to a golf practice routine then lucky you! Here is how I suggest you spend your time.

Use the steps outlined for the one hour golf practice plan, then bolt on the following two areas.

One extra hour practicing your weakness

Firstly, work out your basic playing stats with a golf notebook, app or something similar. This should give you one key area to improve. I’m afraid I don’t have a magic formula written for what that area is.

However, if you exhibit any of the follow I would suggest they are valuable areas to work on. Do you average…

  • Over 31 putts a round.
  • Less than 40% up and downs a round.
  • Less than 45% FIR a round.
  • Less than 50% GIR a round.

Keep track of these basic stats really helps focus your practice time. This is generic list, but it is the best I can do without seeing you play. The one caveat I would put in place is with GIR. If you don’t hit the ball very far, or you are off a 20+ handicap just focus on the first three points.

Golf notebook golf practice routine
The Golf Insider Performance Diary allows you to track your practice and play in one place. It is also full of useful practice ideas.

Here are some extra resources for you based on what fits your game. If you want to improve your putting here are some tips. If you need some long game practice games, pick one of these to play each week.  I will cover chipping below, as I feel it is important for all golfers to spend time on this area. If chipping is also the weakness you have selected there is no problem with doubling down and investing two hours a week.

When you have settled on an area for improvement, create a one hour practice slot that really tests your skill. This hour should have a small warm up, 20-30 shots to hone your golfing technique. Then have a tough skills game to play. The skills game should have a score, so you can see your progress. It should also punish you for your common bad shot.

A nice example of this for golfer’s with a slice or a push off the tee can be seen below, with a game we called Dead Man’s cliff.

One hour of short game fun

If you have three hours a week to practice, I would advocate a full 1 hour short game practice. Along with the chipping skills game listed above, I would add in a game or two of Par 18. This is a brilliant game for realistic short game practice that transfers to the golf course.

Below is a an example  three-hour weekly schedule. Click on it if you wish to expand the image and take a screenshot. In the plan below I’ve added the short game hour after your weekly round. You’ll already be at the golf club so hopefully this minimises any time constraints.

Golf practice routine – Three hours screenshot

An example golf practice routine for playing once with three hours a week practice.

Golf practice routine – 6 hours a week

What if you really are lucky enough, or dedicated enough, to have six hours or more each week to improve your golf? Interestingly, the more time you give a golfer to practice, the less efficient they become.

I find this is a common problem with pros who have lost their way. Therefore, having clear goals for each week and practice session is important.

Setting your practice goals

Each week give yourself three clear goals. An example might be:

  1. Improve putting from 10-20 feet.
  2. Maintain and refine long game technique.
  3. Improve fairways hit in regulation.

Once you have your goals you can begin to devise a practice routine that targets these areas. It is also useful if the games you play can be used to measures your progress in each area. I should note, these goals should stay with you for a 3-6 week period. It is better to be consistent and see the progress you’re making over a few weeks than to jump between different goals each week.

This shows one of my pro’s golf skill game scores over the off-season 2017-2018.

Your six hour practice routine

The key word here is your. My advice is as follows – Keep the steps we have outlined in the three hour practice routine. Then add on 2-3 hours of skills games or technique training that focuses on more of your weaknesses. Or the key areas to your scoring.

Your weaknesses should be addressed with technical work and some skills games. Below is an example outlined for the three goals we outlined above.

Improve putting from 10-20 feet

Technical: 5-10 minutes working on the strike of your putts. The aim being for each putt to come off the putter face with a consistent and pure roll. Putting these to a spot around 10-30 feet away will add more reality to this technique practice.

Skill game (10-20 feet): Hit three putts from 10 feet, then 11 feet… all the way back to 20 feet. With your three balls you can keep your total score to complete all 30 putts. Make each putt a ‘par 2 hole’. You can then keep your score as you move under or over par. (I will add a video of this game soon).

Maintain and refine long game technique

For your technical practice, I would fit in an hour (or two half hours) of technical practice. This might be on the range, a golf net, or just swinging a golf club at home. The focus should be on making many, good repetitions of the movement(s) you wish to make. Care far less about hitting perfect golf shots during this time.

Improve fairways hit in regulation

The last addition for improving driving accuracy would be a good game of Will’s range challenge, details of which can be found hereIt’s a great skills game for improving your accuracy off the tee. 40 balls of this will lead to much frustration, but some great improvement over time.

When we wrap that up into a week, here is what it looks like.

Golf practice routine – Six hours screenshot

Golf practice routine 6 hours
Here is an overview of the six hour golf practice routine. The days and timings are just ideas. Note the little extra time I suggest you dedicate to putting fundamentals (10 ~ 20 minutes).

Golf practice routines – Conclusion

There we have my swift run through three practice routines for you to use. Learning how to build your own practice routines is a skill. I feel it is just as important as learning the technical aspects of how your golf swing works.

Sadly, this is an under developed area in golf coaching. However, I’m doing my best to improve that. My aim is to take my learnings from being a golf pro, lecturer and researcher in how we learn, and share the information with you. If you want my weekly posts to your inbox you can sign up here

If you’re keen to get practicing and want a tool to help you keep track of your practice and play you can grab a copy of the the Golf Insider Performance Diary with this link.

Happy golfing.