Golf Insider Practice Secrets

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.

 golf practice secrets grid

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.

golf practice secrets easy wins
Most of these should be pretty straight forward. However, for clarification, ‘can’t reach green after drive’ is when a drive finishes in such a bad location (such as OOB, or behind a tree) that you can’t reach the green in regulation. ‘Average distance off the tee / into the green’ relates to the distance you can hit your drives. There is a strong relationship between the distance you leave yourself into a green and your scoring, this is a result of the distance you hit your drive. You could measure either variable.

#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:

  1. Am I making progress in this area?
  2. 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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A PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. I currently spend my time lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and working with elite athletes. In my spare time I build Golf Insider UK.

5 thoughts on “Golf Insider Practice Secrets”

  1. I have looked forward to Monday mornings in 2020 in a large part due to your posts.
    Thank you so very much for sharing your research and insights.
    Warmest regards

    Reply
  2. I really like your rational advice on practice plus your list for what are the biggest wins. However, in this list there are some stats I don’t understand:

    “Can’t reach the green after drive” – do you mean this is a stat one wants to keep to a minimum? Also: “Average dist. left to the hole” – do you mean one wants to strive for that to be within chipping distance? I can’t see what numbers you are suggesting we record for these.

    Clarification would be appreciated. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Hi Rene,

      Thanks for the kind words and questions.

      I’ve updated the text below the diagram now, hopefully it helps explain the metrics in more detail.

      ‘Can’t reach green after drive’ is when a drive finishes in such a bad location (such as OOB, or behind a tree) that you can’t reach the green in regulation. ‘Average distance off the tee / into the green’ relates to the distance you can hit your drives. There is a strong relationship between the distance you leave yourself into a green and your scoring, this is a result of the distance you hit your drive. You could measure either variable. Average distance to the hole relates to how many feet you have left to the hole after a chip or iron shot. Again, there is a big improvement in strokes gained with every foot you can get closer to the hole from 12 feet to 1 foot.

      I hope that helps.

      Will

      Reply
  3. Hi Will,

    I recently purchased your performance diary but have yet to start using it. I am impressed with the content and layout of the diary and this article fits nicely in with my coaching and practice plans for next year.

    I look forward to reading your articles in 2021.

    Merry Xmas

    Reply

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