I want to follow up from my last post and talk a bit more about practice time and effectively making the best use of that time to properly prepare yourself for your next important round or your next serious competitive event. As you know, I am a strong believer in having a strong mental routine and with that comes practicing with a purpose and preparing yourself for the golf course by making your practice time more like your actual round of golf.
So many times I have stood on the driving range and simply watched the actions of players and the tendencies of most people out there hitting balls. My main observation is that everyone wants to hit an entire bucket of drivers just trying to whack those balls as far as they can possibly go! Occasionally I will see the odd iron thrown in for good measure but it’s always back to the old grip it and rip it before long!
Here is some food for thought. Let’s say your average score is 90 and you are close to being a bogey golfer. That means that more than likely you take an average of 34 putts and probably hit an average of 14 drives per round. If you take into consideration that you might hit 1/3 of the greens in regulation, that means that you have some type of short game shot for another 12 strokes. That leaves 30 shots that you are taking somewhere in between using various irons, a lot of which are probably within 150 yards of the green. Now this alone should be enlightening already! About 15% of your shots are drives and over at least 50% of your shots are within 10 yards of the green, including your putts. Where are you spending your practice time and where should your focus be to improve your score or lower your handicap? Numbers don’t lie!
Another observation is that most people will hit the same club over and over when practicing forming a type of groove, and usually that club will be a long time favourite. I would like to suggest first of all spending a lot more time on the practice green and working on those chips and pitches from close to the green. Secondly, I would like to suggest a different way of practicing which I use and have used for some time, especially in preparation for a competitive round. Next time you are on the range and working on your long game, try alternating the club you are hitting every time you hit a shot. On one day start with your PW, then hit an 8-Iron, 6-Iron, 4-Iron, fairway wood, and finally driver going through the cycle. The next day use the odd numbered clubs. This will force you to practice with clubs you may not be as confident with and also force you to focus more on the shot as the club changes. Go through your routine every shot. Vary your targets. Visualize how and where you want the ball to go. Never play a shot on the golf course you have not practiced. After having done this, try mentally playing your favourite course in your mind by hitting the clubs necessary based on the shots you have played.
If you are a bogey golfer, make bogey your par. Play within yourself and keep the percentages on your side. Have fun!
Follow CPGA Professional Gary Bos as he chases his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. Check out regular updates on SirShanksAlot.com and Gary’s own website. Gary is the Playing Professional at the Grand Niagara Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario.