We all know practice is the key to getting better at golf. However, practicing golf doesn’t magically make you better – many golfers turn up to hit balls every week and never make any progress.
Here I’ll share three secrets to help you practice in a way that will truly make you better at golf.
#1 The golden practice grid
The first secret is to invest time into skills that will make a difference to your stroke average, and skills that give you a quick return on your practice time.
The grid below gives you a simple system to help evaluate your practice activities. Along the bottom axis we have the impact a skill has on your stroke average. The examples on the right have a large impact on your scoring. The examples on the left have far less impact on your stroke average.
Along the y-axis we have the return on your practice time. Some skills provide you with a very quick return on your practice time (the top of the grid), such as putting. Other areas take a lot of practice investment in order to see an improvement in your skill level (the bottom of the grid), such as increasing your driving distance.
Before you head out to practice consider what you are about to work on and where it fits into this grid.
Your aim is to fill your practice time with skills that sit in the top righthand corner of the grid. You should also include areas in the bottom righthand corner as these will be important for your long-term development.
Areas in the top left corner can also be included, just make sure you don’t focus all of your practice energy on developing these skills. The time you are investing time into skills in the bottom left corner should probably be scrapped or heavily reduced.
So, what are some quick and easy wins?
Below is a list of skills that, on average, have a noticeable effect on a golfers’ stroke average. The bullet points run from quick and easy wins, down to harder to improve areas that are still important to your scoring.
#2 Practice your weaknesses & your strengths
It is important to practice both your weaknesses and your strengths. In the section above you’ve likely found an area you need to improve in order to become a better golfer. You may consider this a weakness in your current game.
However, your game will also have great strengths, skills that are far superior to other players of your standard. Be sure to practice these skills weekly too.
These skill strengths are the hub of your game. You might be a very straighter driver of the golf ball, an excellent chipper… Without these skills your game will not function. Take your strengths and try to elevate them to even greater heights.
Not only will practicing your strengths ensure you perform well, but practicing them will also build your confidence, enjoyment and motivation during practice.
This helps fuel the fire for becoming a better golfer.
#3 Track your practice and playing stats
Are you a better driver of the golf ball than you were last month?
If you can’t answer this simple question, then you will struggle to get better at golf. The solution is simple, track one key metric when playing and have one practice game for each area of your golf game.
In the driving example above, you may keep fairways in regulation, average driving distance or strokes gained driving as your key indicator when playing. In practice, you can create a simple driving range game where you take 10 balls and see how many drives you can hit through a 20-yard gap at the end of each range session.
Each month take a look at these numbers, have they gone up, gone down or stayed the same. Having these numbers allows you to sit back at the end of each month and ask yourself:
- Am I making progress in this area?
- What do I need to do more of/less of/ differently next month?
Tweaking your practice plan each month ensures you keep your practice optimised to your current ability and areas that require the most focus. Remember– your progress as a golfer is a product of what you do each and every week.
Golf Insider practice secrets – Summary
The three points above are really simple, you could argue they are just common sense. But rarely do I see golfers apply them. They represent the difference between practice and no improvement versus getting better month after month.
I really hope this article helps you in your quest to become a better player. The next step is to look back through this article and write down two/three areas you will practice next week.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.
Happy Golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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