That’s right! The time you are spending on the driving range is doing nothing to improve your golf game and is simply a waste of your valuable time. Now I know you have been told that the only way to get better at golf is to practice. But the key question here is this – What type of practice do you need to do to really improve your golf game? I can tell you this; it is not what I see the majority of golfers doing on the driving range. What they are doing can only be described as exercise.
Every other sport has practice sessions and scrimmages on the actual playing field. They simulate real game situations so that they can transfer the newly acquired skills into play as quickly and easily as possible. When was the last time during a round of golf you hit 30, 7 irons in a row off, a perfectly flat lie to no specific target and with no consequences based on the results of the shot? I’m not sure how you play but I have never seen a player do that on the course. So why waste your time by practicing that way?
I regularly hear players discussing the fact that they hit the ball great on the range but when they get on the course they can’t perform to the same level. That’s because they are not practicing on the range what they want to do on the course. If you want to play better then you have to learn to practice better.
Golf practice must simulate real, on course experiences if you want to play better. Here are some simple steps that you can implement today to add more value to your practice time:
- Target – every shot must be hit to a specific target. Golf is a target game and must be practiced that way. Before you work through your pre-shot routine, decide what your target will be and what will be acceptable in relation to that target. For example, your target may be a flag on a green and acceptable would be for the ball to finish on the green.
- Score – you score on the course so it makes sense to keep score when you practice. This does two things for you. Firstly it helps to keep you focused as every ball is important as it contributes to an overall score, and secondly it allows you to track your progress over weeks and months to make sure you are improving.
- Consequences – there are consequences for every shot you play on the course. You have to play from where your last shot finished, or take a penalty and play again, but they all have an effect on your overall score. To create this when you practice you can repeat a set of shots until you achieve the desired outcome. For example, using your wedge to chip onto a green and putt out. Repeat this six times from six different locations and to different holes adding up your total score. If you do not meet your pre-set goal you must repeat it until you do.
- Variety – it is very rare that you will hit the exact same shot twice in a row on the golf course, so why practice that way? Play each ball with a different club to a different target, and if possible from a different lie.
So if your purpose in going to the range is to get some exercise and fresh air, keep hitting the same club to no specific target over and over again. But if you are tired of mediocrity and you want to play your best golf, start to practice more like you play and you will see a dramatic improvement to your scores.
I hope you enjoyed this post. As always comments are welcome and encouraged. Good Golfing, Derek Hooper.
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