10 Ideas to Make Your Practice Sessions Better
I can’t say I’ve seen it all standing on practice facilities the past 30+ years. But I’ve seen enough to know that you can make your practice sessions safer, more productive, efficient, and results oriented by following these 10 Ideas to Make Your Golf Practice Sessions Better. These 10 ideas I share with my clients are one of the reasons why I am considered one of the best golf instructors in Orlando.
I spend a lot of time at practice facilities with my clients. Whether it’s at my home facility, Falcon’s fire Golf Club in Orlando. My summer retreat of McLemore. Or at a golf tournament with a client. I see a lot of funky things going on at those practice facilities. I know most golfers who spend a lot of time at a practice facility possess a sincere intent to get better at the game. But they may not be going about the business of sustained improvement when spending time at a practice facility.
Have a Plan
Going to any golf practice facility without a plan is useless! I see so many golfers hit balls aimlessly. No target to hit to. And no specific purpose to hit the ball. Other than to hit it. If you’re truly attempting to improve your skills and lower your score, Every practice session must have a plan. A good plan includes:
- The Amount of Time You Plan to Practice – The more precise you are with your plan, the better results you’ll obtain. Whether full swing, short game, or putting, planning your practice leads to better planning on the golf course.
- How Long Each Part of Your Plan will Last – use time as your guide versus the number of balls you’re going to hit. Being objective and realistic as to what you can accomplish within a given amount of time And organizing your time to create better organization within your entire game.
- What are the Desired Results of your Practice Session? – You should have an absolute goal of what each practice session should accomplish. Make sure the desired results are realistic and can be achieved within the time frame you will practice. In addition, be willing to come back to a second or third practice session to achieve the realistic result you’re looking for.
Safety and Equipment
As you approach any practice facility, the first thing you should be thinking about is the safety of others. And how you fit into the safety of the range during your practice session. Not about your convenience.
- Bag Stands are Positioned for a Purpose – The staff of the practice facility has a reason to place the bag stands where they are located on the range. The main reason is safety. As well as your ability to easily access your bag. Moving a bag stand jeopardizes the safety of you and all that surrounds you. You can also severely limit yours or the other golfers’ practice area. Always leave bag stands where they’re set up. You’ll find when a bag stand is set up behind you, it forces you in to do your pre shot routine more often when practicing.
- Place Clubs You’re Not Using at the Bag Stand – Leaving unused clubs laying around the practice area is an invitation to someone tripping, falling, and potentially hurting themselves. In all the years I’ve spent at practice facilities, this typically happens to the person who owns the golf club or clubs lying on the ground. Beyond just the safety factor, why would you want to dampen or moisten your grips with clubs laying on the ground? Doing so can jeopardize your grip as you’re swinging those wet handled clubs. Again, leading to a safety situation for you and others.
- Stay Inside the Ropes – There are multiple reasons why a golf practice facility staff ropes off your hitting area for the day. It’s mainly for safety’s sake. It’s also to ensure that they’re managing their turf conditions properly. In turn, providing you with good practice conditions no matter what day of the week you were there. Hitting outside the roped off areas can lead to mishit shots hitting unintended targets.
- Golf Balls In Front of You – When the golf balls you are going to hit are in front of you, there’s no way you’ll trip and fall over one. And there’s no way someone else can claim those golf balls are theirs.
Before you make a swing, stretching is a good habit to get into. When I see a golfer getting ready before they practice, who stretches prior to swinging, I know they’re serious about their improvement. And they’re committed to their long-term sustainable improvement. Stretching before you start swinging provides your skeletal muscular system with the “greasing” you need to perform at your best. It’s also important to note that stretching after practice session can not only help prevent injury. It can help you get out of the car even more easily when you arrive home. Maybe that should be the 11th of the 10 Ideas to Make Your Golf Practice Sessions Better
Targets are a Must
As I walk up and down a practice facility, I often ask golfers if they’re using a target during their practice session. Less than 25% of the time I get a positive reply. The other 75% are hitting somewhere into a big field. And ones who do use a target, use a vague target. Not a small specific target. Emphasizing the importance of using a small, specific target, I believe is one of the reasons why my clients experience the success they achieve. And in turn, their claim of me being one of the best golf instructors in Orlando. Having a target for all your shots provides:
- A Measurement of Your Improvement – How do you know if you’re becoming more accurate if you don’t have a target to hit to?
- Prepares You to Play to Targets on the Golf Course- Make no mistake, golf is a target game. Golf is about getting the ball from point A to point B in the fewest number of strokes. Point B is always a target somewhere down the fairway or on the green. Wouldn’t it make sense to have similar targets as you practice?
- Safety – Having a target anywhere in the practice facility ensures mishit shots do not go sideways and hit others.
Small to Big Clubs
As you warm up, use smaller clubs to create a rhythm and feel for your swing. These are also the more forgiving golf clubs. You need more forgiveness as you’re warming up.
Of the 10 Ideas to Make Your Golf Practice Sessions Better, the most under-rated and overlooked of those items is being random with your practice. There are two ways to make your practice random. And you must make randomness of your practice a priority to experience success as you play:
- The most common sight I see at practice facilities is a golfer using the same club the entire practice session. That golfer then wonders when playing why they can’t hit other clubs. It’s a simple explanation of your equilibrium only understanding how to balance that one club. And not the length differences of the others in your back.
- Choose different targets that coincide with the lengths that certain clubs carry. Randomizing your targets recreates the random length of targets your experience on the golf course throughout around. It also conditions your eyes and brain to feel distances rather than exact measure distances. The feeling of a distance goes a long way to programming your swing to repeat itself. Trusting you have the club in your hand will carry the distance needed.
Recreate Course Tempo
At John Hughes Golf we’re big believers in recreating the same tempo and rhythm you experience on the course, at the practice facility. I’m often asked by golfers why they are such great practice area players and can’t take it to the golf course. Simple. You’re not practicing at the same rate or tempo that you play. Most golfers in a practice facility are “rake and hitters”. Meaning, as the last ball is still flying in the air, they rake over another ball to hit. And then immediately make another swing. This is not the same tempo you play golf at. Even if the cart riding in can go 100 miles an hour to your next shot, there’s at least a couple of minutes in between each shot you make. Recreating the tempo and timing that you experience on the golf course can make your practice sessions much more efficient. And can allow you to be a more successful golfer on the golf course which is where it counts.
To successfully recreate the tempo you play golf on the course, you’ll need to practice your pre shot routine. It’s the link between what you do well on the golf course and what you can accomplish while practicing. Practicing your pre-shot routine not only recreates the tempo at which you play. You’re just establishing decision making processes as well as target orientation. Both skills are highly needed on the golf course with each shot.
Are you a Toe Dancer?
Average amateur golfers don’t realize that they’re probably on their front toe and impact. After hitting a few balls on the practice range do you see a round circle being made by your toe pivoting? I see the toe dance happen daily at my practice facility. Sometimes with both feet. As much as you might admire the world’s best long drivers launching themselves onto their toes. They’re not pivoting on their toes. If you see this occurring often, be sure you’re moving the ball each time you hit it to not wear out a spot on the practice facility. And seek help from someone like me to find out how you can better leverage the ground and not do the toe dance pivot each time you hit the ball.
All good things come with time and come with discipline. Discipline is not a negative word. It implies that you’re repeating a process that is successful. And you’re willing to do things in a consecutive order that provides the success of discipline. With golf, it’s important to be disciplined. Regardless of what you might see in your ball flight. When you’re working on improving your swing, discipline provides the seeds that germinate and grow into a more repeatable swing. Without discipline, you have nothing. And if you really think about it, the previous points within this blog or part of being disciplined When you practice.
Whether you believe it or not, these 10 Ideas to Make Your Golf Practice Sessions Better will go a long way to your sustainable improvement. If you’re experiencing short-term improvement that regresses back to your original habits look no further and the habits, you practice with. These ten ideas provide the skeletal framework of a more efficient practice that’s focused upon results. Keep safety first of mine. And recreates real golf course conditions you can master.
John Hughes Golf prides ourselves on teaching our clients these points and more to ensure their practice sessions are the best experiences possible. When your practice sessions are disciplined, they become better. And we can repeat those better practice sessions every time you practice. Your scores and enjoyment of the game will improve.