One of the most frustrating experiences that a golfer can go through is spending hours practicing on an area of their golf game at the practice facility, only to see their results remain the same when they go out to play.
There are two reasons for these types of issues. The first is a failure to practice with feedback to help determine exactly what is going on in your golf game. The second is the failure to randomize your practice session. Both issues are very easy to correct. Practicing with feedback can be as easy as setting up a practice station or picking a target and analyzing your ball flight in relation to that target. More commonly, if you are trying to implement a change, some sort of training aid can be used to provide feedback.
After setting up a way to receive feedback, you then need to randomize your practice because when you play golf, the shots that you are going to hit are random. You don't get to pick your exact yardage or the lie of the golf ball. You also rarely hit the same club twice in a row, so in practice, a portion of your time should be spent picking random targets, changing clubs between every shot and replicating playing a round of golf. Very commonly, I will play holes with my students and we will have a conversation in between shots so that we do not get into rapid-fire mode. This allows you to simulate both the randomness of shots and clubs that you will hit, along with the pace that a round of golf is typically played at.
So, the next time you go to practice, take the extra minute or two at the start to set up feedback and then do not get stuck hitting the same shot to the same target. You will start to see your game carry over from the range to the course, and your scores will drop.
Scott Hogan is a PGA-certified professional in teaching and coaching who operates out of Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest. He is also a coach for the USA National Team out of Long Grove. He has been teaching for more than 10 years and has been named one of the top 150 junior coaches in the country by U.S. Kids. Visit scotthogangolf.com to download a free copy of his report, "The Journey to Understanding: The 5 Traits You Must Have to Develop Your Golf Game."
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