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Practice routines that produce results.

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Every time I go the range at my club or any other, I am always curious as to what most golfers are trying to accomplish. I observe them just beating one ball after another without any real purpose.


They all say the same thing when they get out on the course “Can't figure it out, I hit the ball so good on the range”. They miss the fact that when hitting one ball after another they got into a rhythm, they were on a perfectly flat lie and most aren't really hitting to a target.


Hitting balls in a machine gun like fashion without a plan or purpose is really just warming up. I get the best results on the range when I practice at playing.


Here's what I mean:


After I'm warmed up, if I'm not there to work on a specific shot, I set up holes on the range to try and make my practice like playing. I visualize some targets like a fairway and I hit my driver, then I will hit an iron like I'm trying to hit a green and I'm very specific at a target, then I may hit a chip and so on. I will play many different types of visualized holes, par 5's, par 4's and par'3s. This is how you play and practicing this way will prepare you much better for your rounds.


If you have a difficult time with certain holes where you play a lot, set it up visually on the range and practice playing it. Try and fine some different lies that you may encounter on the course instead of a perfect flat lie. Maybe bare lies, uphill, downhill etc.


Work on a specific shot that you want to get better at like a punch shot, which I think is one of the most valuable shots any golfer especially an average golfer should master. Or perhaps you want to learn to hit higher shots for your shot approach shots into greens, whatever it is, practice it.

Practicing with a purpose and a plan and making it more like playing will improve you game so much more than just hitting one ball after another just to see how far they go.


I would love to hear everybody's successful practice routine that pays them the most dividends.

Committed to helping "average golfers" improve your game quickly and easily without buying more equipment, long hours of practice and with the swing you currently have.



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I do not spend a great deal of time on the range, but play a few practice holes every day. One thing that I found that has helped me tremendously is developing a consistant preshot routine, and doing it before hitting any balls be that on the range or on the course. I have been working on getting rid of an early release and by rehearsing bring the shaft and clubhead through the ball and getting a push with the right side at the proper tempo has really brought up the consistancy of my game.


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Very good topic.


My outdoor practice (which is sadly limited, or has been the last couple seasons), always starts with setting up a good practice station. By this I simply mean that I always use alignment sticks, and sometimes may add another training aid if there's something in particular that I'm working on.


Going through your on-course pre shot routine is another thing that I focus on. It's also something that I see VERY FEW other players do. As you said, most just machine gun balls like they're on the clock.


While I don't "play a hole" very often, I do try to have a purpose for every shot. I always have a target, and I usually have some kind of objective in mind: a little shape, a particular trajectory, etc. This makes the practice more like the game for me, and it makes it more fun.

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When I go to the range I typically start off with my orange whip to get my rhythm and hit a few alternating driver and wedge shots to warm up. Then I'll put down an alignment stick and practice getting solid contact since I've been hitting the toe of my irons or fat shots recently.


I don't think I've ever played a virtual game. Maybe it's the range I go to or maybe I have poor depth perception, but I find it hard to actually see how far a ball has gone for any shot that's not a factor of 50 yards.

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Here is my routine


wedge shots, wedge shots, wedge shots - 80% of your game is 100 yards and in - I spend most of my time feeling out 120-30 yard shots


then I work out swing flaws with my irons - ensuring correct ball flight and proper distance


Finally I work with my driver - Just going for straight

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Practice should have an objective to produce results. A beginning golfer will have different objectives than an advanced player. I've played for a long time and have an established swing with certain tendencies. I tend to swing too much in to out, often aiming too far right, and sometimes get too steep. When I practice, I'm looking for swing keys that eliminate or minimize those faults. I have a few keys... keep the clubhead outside my hands on the takeaway, swing the triangle of the arms and shoulders, and keep the right arm straight on the takeaway... that normally will get me swinging correctly on plane. Normally all I need is to get the club started correctly on the takeaway, and the rest happens automatically. That's all I'm searching for on the practice tee... a good takeaway swing key.


My routine is to hit a few balls to get my swing feeling right and then go to the wedges. PW, GW, and LW. I try to hit shots to varying distances with each club. Ideally I'll be able to hit a specific shot any distance between 60 and 120 yards with one of those clubs. I try to adjust the distance with different swing lengths, gripping down, and with smoother swings. I'm certainly not good enough to hit every distance exactly, but that's my objective when practicing with the wedge. Inside 60 yards it's all feel.


I've always loved to practice putting but that doesn't mean I've always been a good putter. I became a much better putter when I learned to forget putting mechanics entirely and focus only on seeing the line to the hole. Now when I practice putting, my objective is to focus on seeing the line to the hole throughout my routine. Read the putt well, get setup over the ball without losing focus on the line I see, and trusting my read. If I have a last minute thought that I need to hit the putt harder because it is uphill, or that I need to play more break, that means I'm not trusting my read. Those kind of thoughts lead to poor putts.


For me, putting practice is always mental. Unfortunately, if you practice a lot on a certain putting green you learn the breaks and visualizing the line becomes automatic. You also don't have the pressure that generates those last minute thoughts that derail your stroke. I'm not sure that putting practice really has much value once you develop the ability to see and focus on the line of the putt. Beyond that, putting is just being mentally confident and trusting your read and trusting your ability let your stroke happen automatically. Some days that is easy to do, and other days it can be really difficult.

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For me "practicing" and "warming up" are two different things. Warming up is part of a round of golf and is more about getting your body ready to play than it is about the golf swing. Warming up is also for getting a good feel for the greens that day, gauging the wind, etc. When I'm hitting balls while warming up I'm trying to execute the best swings I can, the swings that practice produced. I'm not working on changing anything or getting better but instead trying to apply what I already have. My preferred warm up takes about 40 minutes or so and involves hitting about 30 balls and spending about 1/2 that time on the green.


Practice is very different. Practice for me always has distinct objectives, even if they are small things. Usually its something I noticed while playing that I want to work on, like yesterday I was working on getting my hips cleared earlier in the swing because I'd been pull hooking some shots the last round I played and I thought it was because my hips were late. I disagree with some of the common things I hear about practice, stuff about always backing off the ball, resetting and going through your pre shot routine on the range and always having a specific target to aim at. All that is fine sometimes, like when one is working on aim and shot alignment, you do have to know that your swing is producing the result you want, but sometimes imo all that is counterproductive and a huge waste of time to boot. Take my practice with getting my hips turned. When I'm doing that, I'm doing several things, trying to first find the wrong spot that was causing the problem, next finding the right spot, and seeing if the right spot fixes the problem, then figuring how to remember that right spot! The last thing I want to be doing as I'm working through that type of thing is continuously stepping away from the ball. When I'm working on something like that I'm really only concerned with the changes effect on ball flight, but what I'm most concerned with is body alignment (alignment within the body) and mechanics. I'm trying to find the keys to groove a usually very small change into my swing and I'm wanting to understand how that change effects the ball. That is about what is happening within the body. Aim and alignment about what is happening outside the body. Once I get the body right, then I apply my pre-shot routine and shot alignment (aim) to it. When when I forget how to aim, that's different practice session!


My hope is that when I get into a round and fire off a pull hook is that I will remember that practice session and be able to identify "my hips are late, remember that key to getting your hips cleared earlier" and be confident that I know how to do that, and that it works.


So sometimes I probably LOOK like that guy that is just shotgunning balls over and over again to no seeming purpose.

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