Do you practice, but don’t get better?
When I get with a new student, one of the first questions I ask is “How do you practice?”
The response is fairly similar and it might not be too far off how you currently practice – hitting balls at the range, a few chips and putts, without any REAL purpose.
The average handicap has not fallen in the past 30 years, despite huge improvements in equipment. One of the major reasons for this is that the weekend golfer has not changed the way the learn the necessary skills to score well on the course. Most golfers don’t lack desire, they put in the hours, but few see an improvement in performance as a result.
The game of golf has so much variability, emotional ups and downs and different conditions for you to improve your game in the easy, consequence-free environment of the driving range. We need to change our approach if we really want to get better, and STOP WASTING ANY MORE TIME.
The aim of the Golf State of Mind Practice drills is to get you practicing, not just your Swing, but the skills that are really going to help you on the golf course.
How good do you want to become?
If you really want to improve and reach the golf of your dreams, your practice will need to have 4 main themes:
- Prioritizing those areas that require the greatest improvement
- Improving your ability to adapt to all the situations you’ll be faced with on the course
- Improving your ability to hit shots under pressure (introduce consequences)
- Understanding your swing and stroke and how to make it repeatable
How well do you know your game?
Practice objective #1 is about knowing your game. Do you track your game so you know your biggest weaknesses? Most of us golfers tend to want to practice those things that we are good at, which makes us feel good. But is it actually helping us perform better on the course? Unless you keep good stats on fairways hit, greens in reg, scrambling and putts per green in reg, it will be hard to see how good your current practice plan is – whether it’s helping you or not. And how do you know how much time to spend on which area? Time is precious, so how you choose to use it when practicing is key to a better game.
Learning how to trust what you already have
Practice objective #2 is about learning to trust what you already have and increasing your ability to play sensory golf. So many golfers ONLY practice technique while practicing. Random practice is about improving your feel for different shots and improving your trust in your ability to pull them off. This involves hitting as many different shots as you can (to different targets) without thinking about your swing mechanics. When you’re on the golf course, you’ll need to be able to adapt and hit all kinds of different shots. You’ll need rely on visualization and feel to play shots successfully, not conscious thought about your swing mechanics. I.e. seeing the trajectory and shape of a shot, knowing how to control distance and trusting your ability to hit it. Become aware of how different shots feel, instead of continuously working on technique, just the way you’ll need to do on the course.
A lot of the GSOM Training Drills are about learning how to adapt and build trust in your repertoire of shots.
Making practice harder than the game
Practice objective #3: One of the major reasons that so many golfers fail to get better is because practice is too easy. They get into “range mentality” which is knowing that there’s always “the next ball” if the one they’re about to hit is a poor shot, which means each shot has absolutely no consequence.
In the GSOM Practice drills, you’ll feel that pressure you feel in big competitions, but IN PRACTICE. Only by learning how to stay calm under pressure, will you be able to access your best games in the big tournaments. I’ve got over 50 games for you that will have your heart racing and knees trembling, so you learn how to play better under pressure.
Objective number 4 is important, but I’ll leave it to your instructor to work with you on it. Understanding your swing from a technical perspective and understanding what produces different shots is a key part of the improvement process.
Sample drill 1: Effective driving range practice
The more you can practice that unsettling feeling of pressure, the less affected by it you will be on the golf course. You’ll become “more comfortable being uncomfortable”.
One game I’ll have my students play on the range is to create an imagery fairway (or green) to aim at that starts off at 60 yards wide. If the player can get 5 balls in a row down that fairway, they get to go to the next stage of the game which is a 40 yard fairway (or green). If you can successfully get 5 balls down this fairway, you move onto the final level which is a 20 yard fairway. If you can do this, any fairway you are faced with on the golf course will seem wider than it actually is, and give you a feeling of confidence. Only give yourself one go at this game per practice session.
Sample drill 2: Effective putting practice
The same goes for your putting practice. Spend more time putting to a smaller target and you’ll make the hole seem bigger on the course. Start with placing 2 tees at hole width just in front of the hole. Make 5 in a row from 5 ft. A golf hole is 4.25 inches wide. Place the 2 tees in front of the hole so that you make a 3 inch wide hole. Make 5 in a row. If you complete this stage you get to go to the final stage with is a 2 inch width hole. Place the tees inside the hole at 2 inches apart. If you can make 5 into this width hole from 5ft, on the golf course the hole will seem huge and you’ll feel a lot more confident from this key distance.
Start your new practice regime today with the Golf State of Mind Practice Drills.