Many beginner and high handicap golfers will go to the driving range and hit balls on a regular basis. This is a great habit to get into as the fastest way to improve your game is through regular practice. The problem is many golfers will hit the majority of the range balls with their driver, rifling through shot after shot. Their practice does not have any real focus. Structured, purposeful practice is needed so you will be able to consistently execute shots when on the course.
Weekly time at the practice range is the time to work on swing mechanics, especially if you are still building a consistent swing. Repetition of proper swing techniques is needed to have a consistent swing on the course. On the course is not the place to work on your swing. Working on your swing while on the course will undoubtedly lead to mishits, frustration, and high scores.
Video is the easiest way to get instant feedback while implementing new swing techniques while on the range. Video gives you the extra set of eyes that are critical in finding areas of your swing to improve. It’s essential to use video if you want to get as much out of your time at the range as possible.
There are several apps which allow you to record and analyze your swing. Two of my favorite apps are UberSense Golf and V1 Golf.
None of us have all of the time we would like to practice, so we have to make the most of the time we have on the range. That means practicing on areas of your game that need the most attention, the areas in which breakdowns are leading to high scores. Accurate stat tracking is one of the easiest ways to determine which parts of your game to work on at the range.
You can make stat tracking as basic or detailed as you’d like. For many years now, in addition to my score, I track other stats on my paper scorecard. I track fairways in regulation, greens in regulation, putts, and penalty strokes for each hole. I’ll then look at my rounds for the week before my weekly practice session and immediately know areas that I struggled in. I also input these stats into a spreadsheet so I have an idea on how I’m performing in areas on a historical basis.
Another way I have tracked stats in the past is on my smartphone. Most of the golf GPS apps also allow you to track several stats including shot distance. These apps do a great job of tracking your stats and many have web sites where you can further analyze them. I have one word of caution on using your smartphone to track a lot of stats while on the course. Do not let your phone distract you from applying your full concentration to your upcoming shot. I see a lot people, myself included at times, spending too much time on their phones.
Technology is making stat tracking easier than it has ever been. GAME GOLF is a stat tracking system that is far less intrusive on the course than manually entering stats on a smartphone. By installing a tag at the end of each of your clubs and wearing a receiver on your belt, you simply touch the tag of the club to the receiver before each shot. All that is required on the course is to remember to “tag” your receiver before each shot.
Besides working on your swing and specific areas of your game, you’ll want to practice real round scenarios. Here are a few examples. Try getting the ball from tee to green. Work on hitting your driver in the fairway and then hitting your approach shot on the green. Another examples is getting up and down from just off the green. Chip a ball on the practice green and then sink the putt. Repeat these scenarios several times. By practicing real round scenarios, you’ll find it easier to take your game from the range to the course.
The amateur golfer has limited time for practice. It is important to make the most of it. I hope you’ll follow tips in this post to practice with purpose.