How to Practice More Effectively
1) Try to do something golf related every day
In this article we talked about a player who took a 30-day challenge with a great training aid called the Orange Whip. Sometimes it’s better to do something for 5-10 minutes each day, rather than one long session per week. It will keep your game fresh, and prevent more rust from building up.
2) Play games
It’s been proven that the brain can’t learn unless you are challenging it with random tasks. Showing up to the range and hitting your driver for 20 minutes won’t do much to improve your golf game. This is exactly why practice games are so effective. They simulate real pressure that you will feel on the course and encourage you to practice like you play. We have a library of more than 20 drills available for our members.
3) Establish your feel first
Jack Nicklaus was a huge proponent of making sure he dialed in his feel on shorter shots before he moved into his full swings, and this is one of the greatest golf tips that has been making its way around for years. Establishing your feel on shots from 15-45 yards is a great way to warm up and get your swing in sync before you move on to your longer clubs. Try this in your next practice session, or before a round.
4) Figure out your impact location
One of our coaches, Adam Young, specializes in helping golfers figure out how to maximize their impact. When your club makes contact with the ball this is “the moment of truth,” and the ball gets its marching orders. Almost every golfer has no understanding of where they are making impact on their irons and woods, and it’s extremely important information. The next time you are on the range use a dry erase marker to figure out where you are making contact with your irons, or get a can of Dr. Scholls Odor X to see where your tendencies are with your driver and fairway woods.
5) Work on your tempo
The timing of your swing is massively important, and it’s why I wrote this feature article last year. Great golf is all about repetition, and the tempo of your golf swing is at the heart of it. Working with beats can be an extremely effective way for all golfers to find a rhythm that works for them, and allow them to repeat it from swing to swing. I consider this to be one of the most ignored golf tips in the whole industry.
6) Practice your putting…the right way
Strokes are waiting to come off your scores if you can spend more time on the practice green and become a more effective putter. Most golfers ignore this part of the game to their own detriment. The stats show that most golfers can improve by making more putts inside 10 feet, and eliminating three putts (read this article to find out why). There are two ways you can do this. The first is by working on your speed control, and the second is learning to square the putter face at impact.
7) Experiment with your swing
A round of golf will throw so many different scenarios at you. Your ball might be stuck behind a tree, on a steep sidehill lie, or catch an awkward lie in the rough. This is exactly why you need to make experimentation a part of every practice session. Try hitting low hooks with your 6-iron. Throw some balls in the deepest part of the rough around the practice green. Figuring out how to alter your technique in this process will prove invaluable during your rounds! Most golf tips don’t discuss what happens when things go wrong on the course, and all great golfers know how to deal with all kinds of adversity.
Improve Your Mental Game
8) Managing expectations
Part of becoming a happier and more successful golfer is all about managing your expectations. I recorded a conversation with Martin Hall about this (go here to find out more), and one of the main things he stressed is that golfers need to learn not to be so hard on themselves, be realistic with their abilities, and above all try to have fun on the course and laugh at their mistakes. Golf is just a game, and it should be fun before anything else! As far as golf tips go, this is one that is not discussed nearly enough.
Part of being a better golfer is becoming more comfortable on the golf course. If you watch most great players they have a very repeatable routine during their rounds. They walk at the same pace, do the same thing before every shot, and there’s a timing and rhythm to it all. No two players have to have the same routine, but try and find one that works for you.
10) Never give up!
Every round of golf is an opportunity to learn about your game. If things aren’t going your way, and you pack it in for the day by the 8th hole, a very bad habit might start to form (this article explains why). One of the best golf tips you can ever receive is to make a commitment that no matter what, you will try to remain positive during your round, and not let your previous shots affect your current one. This is one of the hardest thing to master, but it’s a stone-cold guarantee that you will improve as a golfer if you improve at this part of the mental game.
11) Have a process before your round
Our mental coach for Practical Golf Insider wrote this article for us about what you can do to properly get yourself ready before your round. If you have some time before your round, try to establish a process that gets your mind and body ready for your round. This gives you the best chance of success, and will reduce some of the nerves that affect every golfer early in their rounds.
12) Control your breathing
You might not know it, but golf can create so much stress that it triggers the “fight or flight” response in your body. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, and your mind begins to race. These are all things that make it harder to focus and stay in the moment. Here is a simple breathing exercise you can do on the course to calm yourself down and relax yourself. Plenty of professional golfers do controlled breathing during their rounds because it actually works. Most golf tips don’t explore this part of the game, but it’s an essential tool to have on the course.
13) Stop making excuses
Every golfer has a story about why they shot the score they did. Often it includes placing the blame elsewhere. It could be the course, your clubs, the noise your partner made before you swung…the list goes on. Successful golfers generally don’t blame too many external factors for their play, they take responsibility for what occurred, and try to find out ways to fix it. The buck stops with you!
14) Work on your short game
It might seem weird that this appears in the section about the mental game, but improving your short game can significantly lower the stress a golfer feels during a round. If you don’t feel comfortable with your ability to hit wedge shots and putt effectively, it will put a lot more burden on your tee shots and approach shots. Having a great short game can be a shield that protects a golfer from all of the errant shots that occur in your long game. When you know you have the ability to recover, you will not get as angry at yourself for missing the green with your 6-iron. We have a ton of great videos on how to improve your short game from Brandon Stooksbury, and here is a sneak preview of one.
15) Set goals
The best way to focus your mind on your complete golf game is to establish specific, measurable goals. This is a great way to motivate yourself, track your progress, and stay focused on your path to becoming a better golfer. This was one of the best golf tips ever given to me by my high school coach.
Bring the right strategy on the course
Course management is an extremely important topic that is not discussed enough in the golf world. It’s exactly why I wrote my 30 page eBook (you can download it here for free). Here are some basics that all golfers should be thinking about
16) Stop aiming at the pin
That thing sticking out of the ground with the flag on it should not always be your target on your approach shots. In fact, I can’t think of a good reason for any golfer to be aiming at the pin unless you are playing at an extremely high level. The payoff is simply not there; read this article to find out why.
17) Playing smarter tee shots
Understanding when to be aggressive with the driver, or to choose a more conservative club choice based on the hole, is one of the best golf tips I can think of. This takes discipline, planning, and an honesty with your ability as a golfer. Keeping the ball in play off the tee is extremely important, and that can be accomplished through picking smart targets and clubs.
18) Just get on the green!
Reducing double bogeys is probably the best golf tip I could give to any golfer. One of the biggest mistakes that most recreational golfers make is getting too aggressive with shots around the green, and going for a low-percentage play like a flop shot. Sometimes bogeys are our friends, and the best strategy is just to get the ball onto the putting surface and make sure you are two-putting at worst. Be honest with the kinds of wedge shots you can pull off, and pick the shot that you know you can get on the green 9 times out of 10.
19) Be honest with yourself
One of the hardest things to do as a golfer is to be honest with your abilities. This leads to many mistakes on the course that lead to double and triple bogeys, or in other words, round killers. For example, if you have 155 yards to your target, and you know you will have to hit your 7-iron absolutely perfectly to reach that number, maybe it’s a better idea to take more club. The likelihood is that you won’t strike it purely, and it will come up short. And if you’re stuck in the trees, don’t try and thread it through that small opening either 🙂
Of all the golf tips out there, this can easily eliminate serious strokes from your score.
20) Analyze Your Stats
One great feature of the advanced stat-tracking devices out there like GAME GOLF is that they can start to reveal tendencies in your game, and you can change your strategy on the course accordingly. Are you much more accurate with a 3-wood off the tee with your driver? Do you have a tendency to miss your approach shots to the left? Are you not taking enough club into greens? All of these questions can be answered quite easily if you start to track statistics. When the information is clearly presented to you, then you can go about making smarter decisions on the course.