Mix up practice techniques to improve scorecard

The passion golfers have for this wonderful game is why we instructors strive to improve not only the handicaps of our students but also their enjoyment of golf. It is to that end that golfers will improve their games and enjoyment by using practice time in a more effective way.

Most golfers use their practice time doing repetitive activities. We’ve all done it: hitting 10 drivers in a row; taking the same 5-foot putt multiple times over. It is important to remember that golf is played from a unique condition for every shot. The length of the shot, the lie of the ball, wind — these are just some of the factors that golfers must consider when playing each and every shot on the course.

The following activities should help you bring your best game onto the course each and every round:

Play a few holes on the range

Think about the first four holes of your home course. Hit the clubs that you would normally use off the tee and the subsequent shots to reach the green of these holes. Pick very specific targets just like you would have on the course.

Play some par-2 golf

Take your putter with a variety of other short clubs and spray a number of balls around the practice green. Each par 2 should be played with one ball from a different location around the green. Pick a hole on the practice green and play one of the balls you have disbursed until it is in the hole. Record the score and go to the next location. Success in the short game is all about imagination and coming up with the best shot to fit the very unique challenges presented every time we miss a green. This sort of practice will translate to more strokes saved.

Play 18 holes on the putting green

Choose 18 different locations on the green to play from. Rarely are two putts in a round of golf the same. Pick putts of varying length with different breaks. Play one ball from each of these locations and record your score. The pressure of success with only one opportunity to hit a good putt from each location is a great example of simulating the real thing while practicing.

These activities can be done on a day that you are just practicing or prior to your next round. Repetitive activities can be beneficial in certain scenarios. Hitting the same club repeatedly to work on a new grip position that you are using for example. Unfortunately, too many golfers simply go to the range without a plan. It is important to know what you are trying to accomplish with your practice time.

I encourage you to incorporate these activities into your practice time. These suggestions, used in harmony with sound fundamentals through work with a PGA professional, will pay dividends on your scorecard. They will help you bridge the gap between practicing and playing this great game. Good luck and keep it in the short grass!

Dennis Cascone is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Canyon Gate Country Club. He can be reached at 363-0481 or by e-mail at dennis.cascone@ourclub.com.

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