Do You Practice Golf The Wrong Way?

By: Ned Best

Most golfers believe that they should practice golf to swing identical to their favorite professionals. And on the surface that seems logical. After all, they are the best at what they do. Then naturally you can switch on the golf TV station and get numerous hints and teaching from professionals of all degrees.

Now let's drop in a dash of realism. It would be tremendous if you could turn into the next Tiger Woods, but honestly, the odds are stacked against you. There is a very slim chance you or anyone else will attain that level. Bettering your scores should be your very realistic goal. We all want to play our best, but to seek to imitate the best players in the world is just the wrong way to go about it.

If you are similar to most people, you perform your practice on Saturday and Sunday and after you get off work. Golf is their 9 to 5 business. They get up and hit the links. putting in a great amount of hours working to get better at their trade. You on the other hand do not have that luxury. It would be great if you did, but let's work within the realm of the time and energy you have available.

We've all witnessed our favorite professionals hit a beautifully lofted shot that checks up dead on the green a couple of feet from the hole, or maybe one that rolls back towards the pin. We could spend months working on this, but as a weekend golfer, there are more productive ways to spend our time that will result in lower scores. What we should do is improve the basics first, and that's where our concentration should be.

Think for a second about how you spend your practice time. If you are like many golfers, you proceed to the driving range and spend the vast majority of your time blasting away drives. A good driver is essential there's no doubt, but what share of your shots during a round are hit off the tee with a driver? The thing you need to understand is that the short game is where you need to be spending the majority of your practice time.

We understand it's difficult to get charged up about practicing the short game, but it will be easy to get emotional about the lower scores you will be posting. Ask any touring pro how much time they spend on this aspect of their game and they'll probably say about 80% of their practice time is devoted to this. There are so many different things to work on here, and the pros will practice them all from every conceivable angle. We already stated it's better not to replicate their swing, but their practice habits is something we all can learn from.

If you are like most golfers, your scores are likely in the 90's. And that's in spite of the fact that you may have the longest drive in your group. The problem is obviously with your short game and this is where you should concentrate your practice efforts. Get better around the green and your scores will drop.

It's time to make a change. Don't travel straight to the driving range when you leave work. Instead practice any shot that's less than 75 yards. That means putting, pitching, chipping and short shots from the bunker.

Here's something to think about that should make this very clear. Did you know that during a typical round, more than 50% of your shots are from under 75 yards. This includes putts, chips, etc. If these shots are half of your score, then you should be spending at least half of your practice time working on them. Now consider that in all likelihood less than 20% of your shots are with a driver. If you are truthful with yourself, you will realize that this is where you should practice most.

Sure hitting drives on the range is fun, but it's not nearly as much fun as seeing your scores fall by as many as 10 strokes per round.

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