How many of you have gone to the local pro shop or golf store, bought the latest and greatest club, and found that it did not help your scores at all?
I imagine all of us can say yes to this question at some point in our golfing careers. The reality of this situation is that new clubs will not necessarily improve your game. Don’t get me wrong! I enjoy getting new clubs just like you. I get all excited when I get a new driver, putter, or even golf balls and cannot wait to head to the range to hit them.
What if I told you that there was a simple solution to improve your game? Some of you may be telling me; “yeah right, whatever, heard it before, and it is not true”.
Well, I am here to tell you there is a way to improve your golf game.
It is not a secret; it is not some new fangled training aide, or ancient golfing philosophy. I like to reference it as P.P.T. and this stands for PROPER PRACTICE TIME. Yes, the only way to improve your golf game is practice! And proper practice is even more important.
How many times do you go to the range and see someone purchase a jumbo bucket of balls and without warming up, pull out driver and start smacking balls all over the range. How well is this going to improve your game? I am sure most of you would agree to the notion; “not very well”.
This is simply improper practice, and to truly get better at this game you must practice properly. What do I mean by proper practice? Well, let me tell you.
If you have ever heard Dave Pelz speak on the Golf Channel, he often discusses statistics in relation to successful shot making. This describes the percentage of probability that a shot can be hit successfully.
For example, if you are staring down a fairway 20 yards wide, and pull out driver. What is the probability of this shot being successful? Probably quite low for any golfer, and given what Pelz discusses, it is best to stick with shots that have the greatest probability of being successful. In the example above, I would guess a 3-wood, 5-wood, or 3-iron has a higher probability of success.
Additionally, Pelz also discusses the statistical breakdown of shots made in a typical round of golf. For example, more shots are made within 100 yards to the hole than are off the tee box. I would also guess that more putts are made in a round than tee shots. Given this statistical breakdown of shots during a round, Pelz suggests that your practice time mimic the requirements of a round of golf.
This is where the notion of PROPER PRACTICE TIME comes into play. Knowing such statistics and abiding by the idea of practicing the shots most commonly made during a round, what would you suggest to be the breakdown of your practice time?
I think we can easily state that time on the practice range should be set up with most attention spent on putting and your short game. Putting and short game (100 yards to the hole) is where the majority of shots on a course are made, so why not spend more practice time on this part of the game? Most of us would probably agree and speaking with most any swing coach, they will say that more strokes are saved on and around the green then off the tee box.
But what do many of us do with our practice time? We spend maybe 5 minutes on the practice green, after hitting driver for 25 minutes, and maybe we will chip a couple at the end of our practice session. Knowing what you know, how beneficial will this type of practice routine help in the overall improvement of your golf game? Not very well at all.
If you follow the advice of Dave Pelz, and watch how touring pros practice. You will probably shift gears and practice putting, short game, sand game, and other facets of the game in a descending order.
Think about it and ask yourself how shots would you of saved in your last round if you were a better putter, short game, or sand player? I am guessing at least one or two. One or two shots a round can be the difference between an 88 and 90, or an 81 and 79. Much different scores if you ask me. Don’t forget about your handicap and what 2 strokes saved a round can do to that number.