Make Effective Use of your Time on the Practice Range
by: Nina Pryor, LPGA Class A
Most golfers would rather play golf than practice. But, when you look at the time element of playing vs. practicing, you can accomplish much more in an hour of practice, than you can in two to four hours of playing. That said, most golfers don’t really know how to practice effectively but rather go to the practice facility and hit golf ball after golf ball until the bucket is empty. Let’s take a look at how to practice effectively that will best help your game.
1. Practice a specific skill – many people think practicing involves beating balls at the practice facility and often times fail to spend time practicing their short game (pitching, chipping, bunker play and putting.) If you are struggling with a specific part of your game (off the tee, fairway, approach shots or putting) or particular club (driver, fairway woods, hybrids, mid-irons or short irons) take time to practice and gain confidence again.
2. Set goals for practice – rather than just hitting endless golf balls, begin your practice session with a specific goal (to hit your 7 iron at the 100 yard flag well for seven out of 10 golf balls.) This gives you a measurable goal that helps you determine how effective the practice session is going for you. Many times golfers hit ball after ball without a specific target or goal in mind and judge the “effectiveness” of the shot by whether it went in the air or went straight. You will be happier with goals that you can measure and achieve.
3. Create a plan – this goes with setting goals for practice. Once you determine a club or skill to practice and have goals for practice, you can create a plan that helps you meet your goals. Create situations that you might find on the golf course. Do you really hit five hybrid shots in a row on the course? Then why do golfers hit 10-15 shots in a row with one club at the practice range? Practice like you are playing a few of your favorite holes – hit a driver, then a hybrid and a short iron and strive for three good shots in a row. This will help your confidence and easily transition your good practice time to the golf course.
4. Measure results –now that you have specific goals and a plan to achieve those goals, it’s time to evaluate how your practice session ended. Keep a record of your goals and how your practice session was so you can make changes and revise the goals. This will help you recognize what you may wish to concentrate on during the next practice session. Don’t get discouraged if your practice didn’t go as well as planned – this allows you to concentrate on a trouble-some area next time.
Golfers who dedicate time for practice quickly learn their strengths and weaknesses. By practicing effectively you will soon see the benefits from your good practice habits on the golf course.