Monday, January 16, 2012

Not A Game...Practice! - Practice With A Purpose

"Not A Game...Practice - Practice With A Purpose"
By Sean Mysel - "CrossGolfDude"

Anyone remember this video of NBA All-Star Allen Iverson giving his thoughts about practice?

Iverson goes on talking about the lack of importance in missing practice and how he gives it his all in a game.  Anyone who has watched Iverson can tell you he does give you it all during a game, but also shot well below a decent percentage from the field?  Could it have been from "practice"?  In golf, there are so many different aspects to practice from your full swing, chipping, sand game, and putting just to name a few.  Go to the driving range and you will see people practice, but much of their practice time is spent machine gunning golf balls one after another.  In this blog post, we want to look at how to practice with a purpose and get the most out of your time and dollars.

There's a saying that, "hitting balls is for exercise, hitting balls at a target is practice."  It's difficult to argue with this, when you are on the golf course, obviously the goal is to hit the fairway, green and cup.  Why not do this when you're at the range?  Driving ranges have signs or flagsticks to detailing distances, but there's no rule saying you can't aim at them.  By aiming at a target  you find out not just the distance you're hitting your clubs, but also how accurately you're hitting them.  But let's take it a step further and put yourself in a position where your practice time more closely resembles time spent on the course.  For instance, if you are at a grass range and there's a brown patch in front of the flag, why not imagine that spot is a bunker or water hazard.  Practice hitting over and around the hazard.  Depending on your skill level, try hitting the ball at different heights and shapes.  This should also apply to your short game practice.

Luke Donald, world number one player and short game wizard talks about how when he practices his short game, he will put himself in several different scenarios and practice all sorts of shots.  He will practice chips below his feet, hitting the ball sideways and so on.  So when you practice chipping and pitching, pick out a target and a landing spot for your shots.  Putting is no different.  In stead of randomly rolling putts, practice lining up golf balls all around the cup to practice your alignment, speed and stroke.  Practice lag putting and try to put the ball within three feet or less.  Teaching pros will often lament at their student's lack of practice time.  Unfortunately, the reality of life nowadays is people work longer days for less money.  Since that is the case for many golfers, make your practices count and you will see the rewards on the course.