How many times do you go to the range and either yourself or someone else purchases a large bucket of balls and without a thought, pull out driver and start firing balls all over the range. Is this the proper way to lower your scores? I am sure most would agree to the statement, “probably not much”.
This type of “practice” really isn’t practice at all but rather just someone having some fun, passing time and going through the motions. To truly get better at this game you must practice properly.
Many golf coaches discuss statistics in relation to successful shot making. This describes the percentage of probability that a shot can be hit successfully.
For example, if you are staring down a fairway 20 yards wide, and pull out driver. What is the probability of this shot being successful? Probably quite low for most golfers. It is wise to stick with shots that have the greatest probability of being successful. In the example above, I would guess a 3-wood, 5-wood, or hybrid club has a higher probability of success.
Additionally, one should look at the statistical breakdown of shots made in a typical round of golf. For example, more shots are made within 100 yards to the hole than are off the tee box. It could also be said that more putts are made in a round than tee shots struck. Given this statistical breakdown of shots during a round, shouldn’t your practice time mimic the requirements of your round of golf?
This is where the notion of proper practice comes into play. Knowing such statistics and following the logic of practicing the shots most commonly made during a round, what would you suggest to be the breakdown of your practice time?
One can easily state that time on the practice range should be set up with most attention spent on putting and the short game. Putting and short game (100 yards to the hole) is where the majority of shots on a course are made, so why not spend more practice time on this part of the game? Any low handicap golfer or golf coach would say that more strokes are saved on and around the green rather than from off the tee.
Most peoples’ practice time does not follow this however. Most spend maybe 5 minutes on the practice green, after hitting driver for 25 minutes, and maybe we will chip a couple at the end of our practice session. Knowing what you know, how beneficial will this type of practice routine help in the overall improvement of your golf game?…not much.
If you follow the advice of golf coaches or PGA and LPGA tour professionals, you will probably shift gears and practice putting, the short game, bunker play, and other facets of the game in a descending order.
Think about it and ask yourself how many shots would you of saved in your last round if you were a better putter, short game, or sand player? The number probably is between 3 and 7+ depending on the golfer. Just 2 or 3 shots a round can be the difference between breaking 90 or 80, all magic numbers and goals for golfers.
At your next golf lesson talk to the golf coach about how to track statistics and how to set up a practice routine that matches your needs to get the most out of your golf game.
Haggin Oaks Director of Instruction and Club Fitting Tom Morton sent out this little tip on his personal blog this morning- check it out if you’d like some additional great swing recommendations to better your game…