What is the most important thing you can do for your golf game? Practice.
I know what your thinking... "Wow!" "Great advice!" Well, you're not wrong. It may not be glamorous, and you may already be practicing, but you may be missing some crucial aspects to make the most out of your practice.
1. Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
You've likely heard this phrase before. Few of us ever have the patience to apply it to our game. Put another way, practicing bad form makes bad habits. Practicing your swing without specific intent to improve something is a good way to reinforce existing bad habits.
Let's consider the average golfer's version of "practice." Going to the driving range and hitting a bucket of balls (50% driver and 48% trying to hit the picker... you know you do this) That is fun, and it is way better than doing nothing. Honestly, you can do better.
Instead of grabbing clubs at random and swinging rapid fire, just hit one club. Focus on one aspect of your swing, and do that aspect perfectly during that session. With a 7 iron, practice transferring your weight properly. With a pitching wedge, focus on making contact in the center of the club face. With a 4 iron, work on swing tempo. The options are endless, and every session you'll be better at something. With patience, these sessions will add up to a solid and consistent game.
2. Seek feedback and make adjustments.
Understanding this is fundamental to getting better at anything and everything. Feedback, in this case, is anything that can provide you with information about your performance. Seeing where the ball goes is the simplest form of feedback in the game of golf, and at the same time the most difficult to interpret. Recording your swing, using impact tape on your club face, and even that expensive contraption you bought off the golf channel are all forms of feedback.
Feedback is meaningless without understanding the new information and making adjustments. Instructors are one of the best ways to bridge the gap from feedback to corrective action. However, you can still make the most of your practice with simple, easy to interpret feedback methods and minor adjustments. Below are some of my favorites:
- Document how you performed each round; not just your score. The more detail the better. Don't just record the number of fairways hit, but also record how you missed them. The same works for how you missed greens. This type of information is easy to interpret. If most of your misses are to the right, you can begin to make corrections on the range. If you left 7 putts short, you now you need to work on distance control on the greens.
- Record your swing and compare it to a pro that has a similar body type. Observing the differences between your swing an a pro's can give you goals to focus on the next time you visit the range. Good points to focus on are: the address position, the top of the swing just before and after the club changes direction, impact, and the follow through.
You have to actually do something... No amount of youtube videos, books, or just being told will replace taking action. Even reading this article is pointless if you don't take what you learn and put it into action.
Well... what are you waiting for? Get out there. Practice, seek feedback, and make adjustments.
Checkout some of our training aids to keep you practicing.