Golfers should tailor their practice to the skills they need to improve their scores and enjoyment from the game. Sometimes this may need a change in technique in order to improve a skill, but often it may just need a change in the way they practice so that it is more relevant to the skills they need on the golf course. Players should ask themselves the following questions:
- What skills do I need to improve in order to improve my scores?
- Do I have the ability/technique to do this, if not what do I need to do?
- How can I practice the skill in a way that is going to help me on the golf course?
- How can I assess when and where I can use these skills on the golf course?
For example, a player may be a poor driver of the golf ball. Instead of just hitting buckets of balls with a driver he should find out why he is poor off the tee. Once this has been assessed he can address the problem (for example poor set up). Once comfortable with the change, his practice should be centred around hitting to specific targets and going through a routine he can use on the golf course. This can then be progressed to monitoring how many times he hits his target and if he misses it where does he miss it? This approach can then give the player a picture of what their ability is off the tee and how they should tailor their on course strategy to maximise it.
I strongly believe that little and often is a lot better than long intense sessions. If you can practice the right things day in and day out (or as often as your schedule allows!) then you will improve. You wouldn’t clean your teeth once a fortnight for 3 hours and expect to have good dental health, your golf game will benefit more from regular high quality, shorter sessions as well.
Great players practice all the skills they will need to use on the golf course, they also only attempt what they know they are capable of. I use a 6 or 7 out of 10 rule when I am playing. If I can’t hit the shot successfully that many times out of 10 then I shouldn’t attempt it. For most club golfers I would move this to an 8 out of 10 success rate. Use your practice to monitor what you are really capable of and it will allow you to make much better decisions on the golf course and improve your scores.