One of the biggest mistakes that golfers make when they want to improve their game is to imitate the styles and techniques of the professional golfers they see on TV and in magazines. There is an untold wealth of tips that you can get from magazines, the Golf Channel, videos and books.
Wouldn’t it be great to become a better golfer simply by copying Annika Sorenstam or Tiger Woods? But you can’t do it! You won’t play your game like the pros do. Keep in mind that the number of men and women who make their living playing competitive golf is a very small number.
The pros don’t play golf after they get off work, like you do–the golf course IS their job. These are the people who work full time at playing the game, just like you work full time at your career.
They spend 8 to 10 hours a day on the practice range, on the golf course, on the practice green, anywhere they can swing a club and practice their shots. We don’t have that same luxury of being able to practice our game for a living. Wouldn’t that be great? But, unfortunately, reality sets in all to quickly.
Professional golfers can work hard and learn to make shots that seem impossible to us. Should we spend two, three, six months trying to loft the ball and have it stop 2 feet short of the hole without an inch of roll? Who has that kind of time? We should be spending our time with the basics and take our time with learning our own individual style and technique.
Understanding How Important Practice Is
What kind of practice is best for the average golfer? All you have to do to answer the question is to take a look at the number of people at the driving range hitting long distance balls over and over again. Most golfers spend more than 95% of their time hitting these long distance shots. They never take the time to practice the hits that count: their short game.
Most people don’t enjoy practicing their short game. But if you look at the pros, they may spend 80% or more of their time practicing their short game shots. They practice from all different angles and variables. As I said above, you shouldn’t imitate the way the professionals play their game, but you can learn to follow their example of practicing the right areas like they do.
Focus On Your Short Game
When we’re at the practice range, most of us get a big thrill out of banging away with the driver, hitting the ball long distances, making long drives all day long. But during a real game when we see the scorecard approaching 90 or 100 at the end of the round, the excitement of hitting all of those long drives on the range kind of fades away.
A great way to improve your score is to spend less time using your driver. You need to spend more time learning how to effectively improve your short game shots. It’s important to make the best use of your scarce practice time.
After work or whenever you go to the range, instead of spending an hour hitting long-distance balls, spend a specific amount of time putting, chipping, pitching, taking bunker shots and shots in the range of 45-75 yards.
You’ll find that about 50% of your score will come from shots that are taken at 75 yards or less. So doesn’t it make sense to spend at least 50% of your practice time on those same shots? Makes sense to me!
It will probably take some discipline on your part to reduce the time you spend trying to knock the ball out of the driving range. But you can bet that your golf game will improve tremendously by increasing your short game practice shots and decreasing your distance shots.
For more tips for the beginner golfer, head over to the golf blog for beginner golfers, Sensible Golf Tips.