Here’s the blog I discussed with Mark Immelman on his podcast. If you haven’t listens click here.
How many of us start a practice session with the greatest of intentions but end up after 10 or 11 shots to just start beating balls??
Practice shouldn’t be about spending long hours on the range hitting balls just to hit balls.
A lot of people I meet tell me that they can’t practice because they just get bored.
I must admit I’m a bit like that sometimes too, but only when I’m not following these 5 simple steps.
So here are some ways to help you structure your practice to not only improve but help you enjoy the range.
Step one : Warm Up
Warm up to swing don’t swing to warm up.
If you are going to the range to practice don’t spend your first 10/15 balls hitting them to warm up.
There are some great resources online now to get excellent and easy to follow warm ups which are designed for golfers in mind.
2 of my favourites would be Mike Carroll(fitforgolf) or Peter O’Keefe
An even better thing to do than watch these videos would be actually contact a fitness instructor and get a program off them.
Step two : Drills specific to you
Please please please don’t go to the range without an idea of whats going wrong.
If you need to pay a visit to your local PGA Pro do it. This will save you so much heart ache and time. They will be able tell you what your main fault is causing poor shots and how to fix it.
If your lucky enough to already know your main fault research some videos or articales to find some drills to try on the range.
Spend the first 1/3 of your balls doing these drills.
Step three : Train skill (skill acquisition)
To hit the ball straight you need to be able curve it right to left and left to right.
(not that I’d ever really want a player to be looking for a straight balllflight)
The point is that training skill comes from doing random tasks, golf is a problem solving game and the more tools we have the easier them problems are to fix.
One game I love to get players to do is a 9 ball challenge.
With a 6 iron I ask the player to hit a low draw, stock draw and high draw to a target, then the same thing except its a low fade, stock fade and a high fade, then 3 straight shots low, stock and high.
We rate the shot in two ways did the ball do what we tried? and did it finish close to the target? one point for each and at the end you’ll have a score out of 18.
This game is brilliant for two reasons one is that we are training skill and only have one try at it, the other is that its hard and there will be some failure, and thats good to train too because on the golf course over 18 holes failure will happen and so many times the rest of the round depends on how we react to failure.
Step four : Imagination
With our last 1/3 of balls we want to make the driving range experience as close to real golf as possible. This means no technical work or drills here.
We should never hit the same club 2 times in a row (only time you do that on the course is after a ball OB) and we should be changing target each time too, aiming at targets that aren’t lined up with the teeing ground and not using an aids here either.
One game to play is imagine your home course in your head and play the final few holes, use markers on the range as boundaries of fairways or hazards, be as detailed as possible.
Step five : Wedges and Pitching
Finish with some wedges and pitching, simply because you can’t hit enough of these shots and for the average golfer this is an area of the game that can save you so many shots.
Hopefully this will help beat the boredom on the range and stop you from aimlessly beating balls and never get any better.
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