By Tim Peightal, PGA Professional
Part I :
You should practice wisely, just like the expression "working smart". After you've warmed up you should approach your practice session in the same manner you would a round of golf. You want to hit practice shots the same way you would hit shots on the course. You need to train yourself on the range to do what you expect on the golf course. Use the same routine to hit shots on the range that you would when playing. You're trying to achieve a conditioned response on the range so you don't have to think about it on the course. Some people may refer to this as muscle memory, I call it conditioned response.
Practice the way you want to play, if you're serious about playing well. Use your time well and you will enjoy the game much more. Determine what kind of preshot routine fits you best and do it while practicing. Work on your mechanics and technique on the range so you don't have to think about it on the course.
The range is for work and course is for play. Develop a program for success on the range and let the program run on the course. Don't interfere with it. It's called "getting out of your own way" while you play. You're not out there to play golf mechanics you're playing golf. Practice with intent. Go out with a goal and try to accomplish it. Don't just beat balls. If that's what you're doing you might just as well find a gym and pump some iron. Work smart and use your time wisely. Who knows you just might start to like practicing and your golf game will definitely improve.
Part II :
Now that we are practicing wisely lets make sure we focus. When you are working on swing mechanics or tempo or technique or awareness remember to work on one thing per one swing. Don't try and do to much with one swing. Lets say you've chosen three areas to work on during a particular session. Hit five shots working on number one only then five working on number two only then five working on number three only. Then go back to one and so on. This is called circular learning and it will be much more productive and you will pay closer attention to what you're doing. Sometimes practicing can get boring and you will get distracted, this will help you keep your focus.
Start changing your targets and switching clubs After you've accomplished your goals for that secession and you're satisfied with the motion, start changing your targets and switching clubs. Practice hitting shots to targets that bother you on the golf course. Like a back left pin position or a far right position. If you can hit the shot on the range you can hit it on the course. Also get used to switching clubs when you practice. Hit a driver then hit a 7 iron, hit a driver then a three wood ect., just like on the course. This will help you maintain tempo from club to club. Don't just practice with one club. Very seldom do you hit thirty or forty 5 irons in a row on the course. The time to practice is when you are striking the ball well because that is what you are trying to condition. When you are hitting it poorly is the time to seek professional advice.
You want to make your practice sessions as enjoyable
as possible, so do what you can to make it fun. After all, you
are working very hard to play a GAME better, so enjoy.
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