Create A Practice Plan

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It’s the a new year….a new golf season.

Many golfers are heading to the range to “try” and play better golf.  Unfortuneatly, the vast majority will be pointlessly hitting ball after ball, with no improvement at the end of the rainbow.  You’ve seen it, and probably done it…you hit a shot on the range and it goes left of target, you pull another ball in and hit it, this one goes right.  Pull yet another ball, again to the right.  You hit a few more, and then after missing more targets, you pull another club out of the bag and do it all over again.

No where do you see the player take any practice swings, have any kind of practice aid (alignment rods, mirrors, etc).  The player is doing nothing more than just going through the motions…pretending to practice.

What golfers should do, and what I do with all of my clients, is sit down and write a practice plan.  We write down what their goals/objectives are for the upcoming year.  Hit more greens, improve putting average, increase the up and down percentage, stop missing fairways to the right, hit the ball closer out of green side bunkers.  Whatever it may be, we WRITE IT DOWN!  After creating our list, whether it’s a couple of items or 10, we create a plan to improve in each area.  What amount of their practice time should be spent in each area, what drills they can work on, and more specifically what time frame they should expect to see results based on the amount of practice they are able to put in.

One of my most recent assessments worked as this:

Goals:

1.Improve short game save percentage from 16.4% to 25%+

2. Improve putting average from 2.36 to 2.1 or better

3. Increase Green In Regulation percentage on par 3′s from 6.4% to 20%+.

If the goals are achieved, the estimated scoring average for this player would improve from 108.3 to 95.0 (a 12% increase).

Practice Plan:

1. To improve short game save percentage, the player will spend a minimum of 50% of each practice session on the short game area working on chipping, pitching, and bunker play.  The player will work on a variety of different length shots from 40 yards and closer to the hole.  The player will work on basic technique to improve at distance control and overall ball striking from close range.  The player struggles on several holes with hitting multiple shots from close range, either hitting the ball thin or heavy and needing an average of 1.9 shots from within 40 yards.  If the player can improve this category to hitting the green 80% of the time, or increasing to a 1.2 average shots to hit the green on each hole, the player will be saving an estimate 6-8 shots per round.

2. Improving the putting average on the green will work in conjunction with the improved short game and proximity to the hole.  This particular player struggles the most with controlling the speed they hit putts, often times leaving 2nd putts an average of 4-6 from the hole.  With improved speed control, the player should be able to increase the average 2nd putt to a distance of 2-3 feet from the cup, a 100% improvement.

3. This is the area that will require the most amount of effort to gain the proposed improvement.  The player struggles in general with hitting greens in regulation, and increase this statistic by nearly 300% will require a lot of effort.  However, when you look at what is being asked, is trying to hit only one green in regulation per round.  This player struggles with mostly missing greens short, and this is largely due to a lack of consistent contact with the ball.  The player hits the ball all over the clubface and often hits the ball thin and heavy.  The player understands that there will be substantial effort put in on the range with drills focusing on improving the contact made between the clubface and the ball.  With the player improving on contact, the result will be more consistent control of distance and resulting the desired outcome for the player.

Now, not everyone’s practice plan will be focused on the same areas of focus, but being able to write down what you “need” to improve and more importantly setting REALISTIC goals.  This will act as a tremendous guide for anyone that truly wants to improve their golf game.