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Make Your Golf Practice Count

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Sports
Most golfers, regardless of their ability level, are guilty of wasting their practice time. How many times have you been at a driving range and witnessed stall after stall filled with tired looking golfers endlessly beating balls. Most have selected the large bucket and think only of launching all those little pellets with the big stick.

Most of these people would have been better off if they had just stayed home and mowed the lawn. Why? They are practicing without a purpose.

PLAN YOUR GOLF PRACTICE

The first step in improving your golf is learning more about the swing. If you do not want to take lessons, there is a wealth of information available in books, magazines and on the web. Find some information related to a part of your game you are struggling with. Youll likely find many articles related to any and every golf sin you could possibly commit. Focus on the cause and effect. Try to understand not only what you need to do to improve, but the causes of your problem. There are likely to be multiple possible causes and solutions.

HIT THE DRIVING RANGE? NOT YET

Instead of running to hit that next large bucket, take those golf tips you learned and apply them in front of a full-length mirror. This is especially effective if you are working on your stance or setup. You can easily compare your body position with those of the pros in the magazines. Take your backswing in slow motion, stopping at various points to again compare your position with the pro. This exercise will help you picture and feel a good golf swing.

SMALL BUCKET PLEASE

When you finally get to the range, your mind is no doubt full of energy and excitement as you prepare to apply your new thoughts. That is good. But, remember that it is quality golf practice, not quantity, which counts. Get the small bucket and take your time. Rest between shots. Resolve in your mind to think about what you are working on before each shot. Apply one swing thought before each practice shot. Too many thoughts will result in paralysis of analysis. After each shot, reflect on not only the result, but how the swing felt. What did you do wrong? What did you do right?

PRACTICE WITH A FRIEND

You can triple the effectiveness of your golf practice if you bring a friend with you. Buy one large bucket and share a stall. Take turns hitting a few shots each. Tell your friend what you are working on and ask him to describe how it looks. Watch one another from the side and behind to get different angles. Ask your partner to focus on different elements of the swing: the grip, setup, plane, top of back swing, lower body position, shoulder turn, etc.

IMPROVEMENT TAKES TIME

Remember to keep focused on improving your weaknesses. It makes little sense to spend 75% of your golf practice time working on your strong points. Dont get impatient. Realize that improvement takes time! Nobody goes from a twenty-handicap down to a single-digit overnight. However, if you apply these tips, youll be building your knowledge of the game as you practice. This can only help improve your game in the long run.