by Bobby Hall, PGA Professional
Make your practice routine as close to actual play as possible.
1) Preview your task
2) Review your strategy
3) Rehearse the actual swing (Pre-Shot Routine)
4) Learn from your mistake
Preview what you want to practice. Correct warm up methods are priority #1! Then preview and decide on the shots you want to work on first. Start with mini-swings and proceed to full swings when you begin making solid contact. Full swings at 50-percent are a good method. Concentrate during your pre-shot routine by counting a sequence during your swing, especially on short game and putting; Count 1-2 going back on the backswing and 3 on the downswing. Many teachers refer to this as your “personal cadence”. Your backswing should be at a slower speed than your forward swing, with your maximum speed obviously being through the impact area.
What strategies to you want to work on or implement? Practice all types of ball flights and combinations. Practice left to right and right to left shots. Low, medium and high ball flights with each club. Take in data about your ball flight and distances. Your game plan should be to play to your strengths or the best shots you are capable of playing.
Make a good practice swing that is a rehearsal for the actual shot you are about to make and then have the courage of your convictions and pull the trigger! You will be surprised at your ability to recreate the shot you have made in your mind. Follow through on all shots and complete your swing so that your body faces the target on the follow through. Hold your finish for at least 3 seconds. Focus on swinging through the hitting area and completing the swing. You will find that you quit swinging at the ball and the club will pass smoother through your swing.
Data is so important. Many PGA teachers and especially those working with PGA and LPGA Tour players will track data. Greens in regulation, fairways, number of putts, sand saves. You should do the same and include a few extra details to help with your practice tactics. Do you miss more drives to the right or left? Do you miss more greens to the right or left? Are you more often short or long with a particular iron?
Be very specific on tracking your wedges, your chips and putting. Missing a few yards left or right and/or long or short for each swing can accurately be measured and can be improved with a little home work. Keep an extra score card or small note book and write down your results. Take this information to the practice tee and to the practice chipping green.
Bobby Hall is the Director of Golf at Quail Creek Golf Course in Fairhope, AL. To schedule a lesson with Bobby call (251) 990-0240.