Due to work and family commitments, most club golfers only have a limited amount of time to spend working on their golf game. If that’s the case for you, it’s crucial that you follow a practice routine that is as efficient as possible.
I see a lot of golfers turn up to the range, hit 100 golf balls fairly aimlessly and then go away thinking that it’s another hour dedicated to practice and a step closer to consistent, solid golf.
But unfortunately, in golf or any sport, practice does NOT make perfect – practice makes permanent. Unless you’re focused and unless you practice doing the right things, more practice will only ingrain bad habits and possibly make you worse rather than better.
The good news is that you probably need a lot less practice than you think (assuming it’s efficient practice) to play to the standard you aspire to.
Have a definite focus for each and every practice range session. It might be to work on a specific aspect of your golf swing or it might be to practice a particular shot shape for example.
Divide your session and your basket of balls into 3 phases – a warm up phase, a solid practice phase and then a cool down phase. So for 50 balls, that might be 10 balls to warm up, 30 balls to practice and 10 balls to cools down,
For the warm up phase, begin with some warm up exercises and stretches and then hit maybe 5-10 balls. Those initial shots should be easy chips or pitches (not full swings) with a wedge. Don’t just chip aimlessly – pick out a target, check your alignment and make a couple of practice swings before each shot, as you would on the course.
During the main practice phase, work through your bag starting with a high-lofted club like an 8 or 9 iron, progressing up to the driver and then back down again. You don’t have to hit every club in the bag but do hit a range of clubs rather than just 1 or 2.
For example, you might hit 3-5 shots with an 9 iron, 6 iron, 3 iron, 3-wood, driver, back up to a 5 iron and then an 8 iron. This might look as though you won’t be able to groove a rhythm with any one club but that’s more realistic to the game of golf. Rarely do you hit even 2 consecutive shots with the same club out on the golf course.
Think quality not quantity. A good practice session requires no more than 50-100 balls. Unless, you working on chipping or bunker shots, any more than 100 balls will lead to complacency and fatigue. In part 2 of this guide you’ll see why 50 balls should actually last at least half an hour.
Finish your session with a cool down by hitting 5-10 pitch/chip shots. As with the warm up, these should be easy, half swings. Be sure to keep your focus though and work on hitting a specific target for each shot.