Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods both got to where they are right now through doing things the right way. Of course they are naturally talented athletes, but they also work(ed) at their sport. They train(ed) hard and make valuable use of their time – especially when it comes to practice. Most amateurs can learn a lot from Tiger and Jack’s practice routines.
We all don’t have 8 hours a day to practice golf, so when we do have the time – let’s make it worth it. This involves practicing smarter instead of harder. Tiger puts more focus on the weakest part of his game at that time – a lesson every amateur should learn. If you are taking 40 putts per round but hitting your woods and irons just fine, then don’t spend time beating 7-irons down the range. Head to the putting green and spend 70% of your time there.
Jack Nicklaus would often focus on his fundamentals when his swing went south. He would work with his instructor on the basics – grip, aim, and posture. Jack found this the best way to get his groove back after a bad round. You too, can learn from this by not trying to overcomplicate your practice session. Instead of trying to cram in every drill you just read in Golf Digest into one practice session, ask your swing coach to give you one or two good drills that focus on your specific swing flaw. Practice just those few drills and don’t deviate from the plan. This ensures that not too many thoughts are entering your mind while practicing.
Another great aspect of Tiger’s practice routine is his focus on the target. Most amateurs simply go to the range and swing for the fences without a target in mind. Pick a target for each shot and change targets often. This makes sure you are doing something to actually help you game as opposed to just getting exercise from swinging a club!
Next time you’re at the driving range, go through your pre-shot routine on every shot and see how long it takes to hit a bucket of balls. Probably much longer than it typically takes you to finish a bucket – but this is a much more effective way to practice since you’re actually doing the same thing you do on the golf course.
Some tour pros will even “play” a round of golf on the range. They will start with a driver, pick a target, then hit it. From there they will go through the hole in their mind and hit whatever the next shot requires – maybe an 8 iron to a tight pin position. The more you can simulate a real round of golf on the practice range – the better your practice session will become.
Figuring out an ideal practice routine is individual to every golfer. Just make sure that you’re accomplishing something each time you go out – and keep your short game a top priority. Improving in this area will probably drop the most amount of strokes in the quickest amount of time.
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