We live in a culture where time has become the most precious of commodities. Between work, commuting, family, and home, finding the time for a round of golf a couple of times a week is becoming an exercise in time management. If you are a golfer, you understand the lure of the golf course; the fresh air, the camaraderie, the beauty of the golf course, and the thrill of a well-struck shot or a great putt that takes us away from the daily grind, even if only for a few hours.
Thousands of people across North America are joining the fraternity of new golfers every week, buying new equipment, taking lessons, joining leagues, or taking part in Corporate golf outings aimed at team building, improving the corporate culture, and yes, even conducting business, and all of these new golfers have a few things in common with the rest of us die hard players.
We all enjoy the challenge, we all want to get better every year, but usually we just don’t have the time to devote to consistent practicing.
Golf lessons from a certified Golf Professional are certainly a must have, a few good lessons on the golf swing and scoring game will counter months, or even years of frustration trying to figure it out on your own, the problem comes from what you do with those lessons. A Golf Professional, no matter how talented, can only impart his, or her knowledge on you in a classroom or range setting, it’s then up to you to take this knowledge and turn it into a golf game, and that takes practice time.
A serious amateur golfer will put in up to 10- hours per week on the practice range in order to compete at a high level, a Professional can double that time plus play a few rounds to improve or keep their scoring touch. So where does that leave the rest of us, those of us with regular jobs, families, and stuff to do?
While it’s important, even therapeutic to go the range and grind through a couple of buckets of balls, are we doing our golf game any good?
Those of us with limited time have to maximize the minutes we steal for practice and make the most of our range encounters. The most successful golfers will follow a practice routine that they can translate into a golf game when they get to the course. Below is the practice routine suggested for all students of “Center of Gravity Golf”, this gives a player the best chance of bringing the range game to the golf course, and seeing steady, marked improvement…and it’s more fun.
Here are 5 tips to keep your game consistent.
- Work on your fundamentals: Block practice is what you see most everyone at a range engaged in. Hitting 7-iron after 7-iron, after 7-iron, is not a good way to improve your golf game, unless you are specifically working on your 3 basic fundamentals. Center of Gravity golf has a 30-ball and a 60-ball schedule that will solidify your fundamentals in short order. If you’re not doing this, it’s only exercise. while a short warm-up is ok, hitting 25 drivers in a row does nothing for your golf game. Remember, golf is a game, and should be practiced as a game. I call “Block Practice” exercise
- Practice Like You Play: After you warm up, your practice session should mimic a round of golf at your favorite course, or the one you will be playing soon. Picture the first hole and take the appropriate club for the shot. Hit the shot and live with the consequences, just like real golf. Estimate your remaining yardage and choose the appropriate club for that shot, and so on. For your shots into the green, pick put a specific target and estimate if you hit the green in regulation. Keep your fairways and greens in regulation stats, chipping and putting will come later. Using this practice range method will put you in the position to hit every club in your bag in a simulated game situation making it easier to translate from practice range to golf course.
- Practice with a Friend: From experience I’ve learned that getting to the gym a few times / week is easier and more enjoyable if I have a workout partner, the same goes for golf. A practice partner will help you get to the range, have more fun, and learn a lot faster. Playing the “Range Game” with a friend will make your practice time more enjoyable, fuel your competitive spirit, and help you focus on each and every shot ensuring more success on the course.
- Play Chipping and Putting Games: Playing closest to the hole chipping games with a friend will sharpen your skills and competitiveness much faster than mindlessly chipping 25 balls to a single target. In golf, you only have one chance to hit your shot, and practicing this way will lessen the anxiety you feel in a game situation. The same goes for putting. Playing a putting game with a friend will sharpen your eye and improve your putting much faster than hitting 20 10-footers in a row. Friendly competition for Cokes or Coffee will make your limited practice sessions really pay off.
- Get a Plan: Every golfer should have a plan before tee time. Having a game plan for all situations will give you the confidence to perform in any situation you may come across on the links. Most golfers try to “wing it”, and that’s when the big numbers show up on the card. “Center of Gravity Golf “ outlines a plan of attack for all situations ensuring lower scores and lots of fun on the course.
So if you’re like me and have limited time for practice, try this method, it’s fun, fast, and delivers the results you want in a short time.
A typical practice session with a friend should not take more than an hour, and will show up on the golf course with lower scores and increased enjoyment.
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | PGA of Canada Professional