Practice Makes Better

Practice Makes Better

With a new golf season right around the corner, it’s time to dust off the clubs and the spikes and get yourself back in some semblance of playing shape after a winter off. If you’re not lucky enough to live in a climate that’s conducive to year-round practice, you may be feeling the rust, but don’t be discouraged. Most rust can be knocked off with a bit of practice as long as that practice has a purpose and a little discipline.

That may sound intense, but effective practice off the course will translate to how you perform on the course so while having fun is important, taking the time to focus on a few key points during your practice sessions will greatly benefit you when you tee it up to play. Here are a few easy thoughts to take with you to the practice area that will level up your productivity and improve your golf game overall.

1. Pick a good target

I’ll never forget one of my very first lessons as a junior golfer. My instructor was adamant about fundamentals and, for her, there was NOTHING more important than picking good targets. On this particular day, I remember her asking me where I was lined up and, when I said I didn’t know, she remarked something like “practice is pointless without a target”. Those words stuck with me throughout my entire golf career and even now, despite no longer playing competitively, I religiously use an alignment sticks on the range.

Women practicing Golf with Alignment Sticks

Many players tend to get so caught up in the repetitiveness of whacking ball after ball on the driving range that the purpose of the practice session is long forgotten by the time they’ve reached the end of the bucket. Furthermore, if a proper target hasn’t been chosen, the effort expended is futile because without knowing where you’re going, you cannot judge how good or bad your ball is flying or whether or not you’re progressing in what you’re working on. You don’t have any clue HOW you’re hitting because you’re clueless as to WHERE a properly struck shot should be going.

The next time you hit the range, use an alignment stick or club and make sure you’re aware of your aiming point before you begin to hit. Being intentional with your target allows you to definitively judge the quality of each struck shot and verifies whether or not your practice is actually producing the desired outcome.

2. Spend half the time on short game

One of the easiest places to improve your golf game is to improve your chipping and putting. Yep, that’s right. No matter how many balls you beat or drivers you bomb on the range, nothing compares to the progress that can be made around the greens. If you consider all of the shots you waste throughout a round, I guarantee the majority of them are the results of 3-putting, struggling in bunkers, or poorly struck chips. But, if you could efficiently get up and down every other time you miss the green in regulation, think about the shots that you’d save.

The short game is arguably one of the most challenging parts of golf simply because of the skill and the feel that it takes to be good around the greens and most golfers do not spend enough time working on it. If you want to improve your scores, spend half of your total practice time at the short game area. You’ll see your hard work pay dividends on the course.


3. Quality over quantity 

This tip may sound like a cliche, but nowhere is the concept of quality over quantity more valid than in golf. If you hit 500 balls a day with no target or purpose for your practice, what good are you getting out of that? If you go to a driving range and hit balls as fast as you can without taking any practice swings or thinking about what you’re doing, how does that benefit you on the golf course?

Quality practice is intentional practice. It doesn’t matter if you have 30 minutes or 3 hours. Using that time deliberately to work on your fundamentals or a specific swing thought will be much more advantageous to the improvement of your game. Take it slow. Do drills. Take practice swings. I promise you’ll see the difference.

Just like anything else in life, the easiest way to get better at something is consistent, successful repetition of positive habits. Practice doesn’t always make perfect in golf, but practice DOES make better. Taking the time to ensure that you’re practicing effectively doesn’t mean that you have to have any less fun. It just means that you are taking initiative and helping to guarantee that your efforts and hard work pay off.