Practice with Purpose

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.

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