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How to Practice Effectively

Golf Practice Colorado

Basketball players practice in the gym. LeBron knows the court and aims at the same hoop in practice as he does in a game. Serena Williams dominates the tennis court because she sweats it out day after day on the painted court. Her serve gets dialed in and the target is the same in practice as it is in competition. Before you become elite on the golf course it’s important to know getting results in golf is very different. If you aren’t aware of what you’re doing it and how you’re doing it, it could be to your detriment.

First, competition changes everything. We all know that. We all have felt the pressure it brings for better or worse. At some point we have all choked in the moment and we all have dreamed of making a putt under pressure to win the masters!

Here are TWO ways I encourage you to start training It’s up to you to know the difference between them and it’s your choice whether or not your training is effective!

  1. Technical Training: Working directly on movement patterns, where the goal is to make the movement feel comfortable without necessarily any regard for the result of the shot.

  2. Performance Training: Having the majority of your focus be result and target oriented. To include distance and direction. Essentially, this is how effective you can be at getting the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes, regardless of comfort or swing cosmetics. The scorecard only has room for a number, not endless dialog on contact, lack of distance or spin on the ball.

Before you get to the course you need to CHOOSE which way you will train. Both ways are necessary, but there needs to be a balance and a method.

Technical Training:

When you make the choice to be technical it doesn’t mean results don’t matter. It just means the priority of your practice session is getting a certain feel in your swing or working to hit certain positions. Thus, you must have narrow focus and not flood your brain with tons of ideas and movements.

  1. Manage either time or reps

  2. Example: 15 balls with 6 iron feeling more shoulder turn at the top and getting the club across the line

  3. This is where video can help. Stay focused on feel and getting the feel.

  4. 10 shots feeling same thing with a wedge

*The main objective is to give yourself a set amount of balls or amount of time. Don’t pointlessly beat balls. Stay sharp and narrow with your mindset.

Performance Training:

When you make the choice to be focus on performance and results you must hold yourself accountable to just that! Whether on the range or practice green, your there to get results and perform. Sure, your feel and mechanics are still important, but they aren’t the priority. Instead be target oriented. Focus on things such as wind, lie, trajectory and distance control

  1. Example: Target/distance variation. Pick three different targets. 100yds 125yds and 160yds

  2. 3 balls at each target. Purely focus on shot shape and distance control. Results is the only thing that matters

  3. Take feedback after each shot. If you notice you carry yardage is wrong or you hook it too much…what are you going to do? Make an adjustment, but stay in Performance mode!!

  4. Keep witch targets and clubs to avoid getting stuck or complacent in your practice

Know how you want to practice before you start swinging! Good luck!

Leighton Smith, PGA

2017 CO PGA Player Development Award Winner

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