How to Practice Effectively
For most recreational golfers their practice will be carried out on a driving range such as the one where I teach, Dukes Meadows in West London.
A driving range typically has covered bays, the surface you hit from will be a mat rather than grass and you will buy a bucket of balls usually in amounts of 50 or 60. The area you hit into is essentially a big field usually up to about 250 yards long with targets and distance markers provided to give you things to aim at.
This means that the area we generally practice in is far easier than the environment where we actually play the game. On the golf course we experience a huge variety of different lies that our ball can end up in, we have more specific targets and consequences for missing those targets and only one chance to get it right.
I always suggest to my students that they should adopt two different types of practice depending on where they are in their progression.
They are what’s called Block Practice and then Skills Based Practice.
Block Practice is where you are trying to acquire a new skill such as a swing change and this is where you want uniformity so aiming at the same target with same club and trying to groove the correct motion.
Skill Based Practice
Skill Based Practice is more preparing you to play on the course and testing any new skills you’ve been practising so this would involve changing clubs and targets to take you out of the comfort zone of getting into a rhythm.
A basic example of this would be to imagine playing some holes that you are familiar with choosing the club you’d tee off with then the appropriate ones for your second or third shots based on the success of your previous shot until you reach your imaginary green.
If you are a new golfer or you are trying to improve your swing then the majority of your practice should be Block Practice if you are a more established golfer or happy with your movement then your practice should be more geared to Skills Based Practice to prepare you more for playing the course and the challenges you face there.
Skill Based Practice can be even more effective and fun if you have a practice partner to test yourself against and adds an additional element of pressure. If you are practicing on your own I would always suggest recording your results to chart your progression this way you can gain confidence and also let’s you know if you have been working on the right things during your block practice sessions.
If you are really keen to improve your golf make sure you use your practice time effectively by practicing with a purpose just going to the driving range and hitting a lot of balls can be detrimental to your golf as it doesn’t reflect closely enough what you will encounter when you do go and play.
Hope this helps and please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about effective practice.