Practice is important when trying to improve your golf game. It’s also a good idea to have a plan, goals, and specific drills to guide that practice. But the question still looms – how do you determine the effectiveness of that practice? Or even measure the success of a specific drill? My experience shows me that simply looking at the ball flight or looking at the score is not enough, and often times can be detrimental to the improvement process. For example, you take a golf lesson and then practice extraordinarily hard on what you’ve learned. Unfortunately, when you take it to the course you see no change in your score. Does that mean the lesson was a waste? After all that work, you didn’t get any better? I seriously doubt this is the case, but I see this happen to golfers far too often. They try to move far too quickly and expect instant results. I’ll say it again: IMPROVEMENT IS A PROCESS!
How can you prevent yourself from falling into this mentality? It’s really quite simple and FUN. Create a test to monitor your progress. What do you mean create a TEST? Follow these steps when creating a test:
1. Determine what skill your particular practice is trying to improve.
-Examples could include: hitting more greens with my short irons, controlling the low point of your swing, or consistently making contact with the ground in the same spot with a divot in front of the ball.
2. Develop Test
-Using our examples above, we could take 5 balls on the driving range and count the number of times out of 5 we hit a particular target green.
-Take 5 balls and place them on a line drawn on the turf. After each shot, evaluate where your club contacted the ground and judge the number of times out of 5 you were successful.
3. Create a baseline
-Before practicing, attempt your test and award yourself a score. Record this score
-Periodically during your practice, perform the test. Are you seeing better results? Is your score improving? If not, try another drill or adjust practice.
*CAUTION: If you don’t see improvement after one round of testing, do not give up.
Following the four steps above will add a lot to your practice and accelerate the learning process. This process can be beneficial in so many different ways. You can now focus on one particular element at a time. Golf can be overwhelming if you try to fix everything at once. Additionally, it’s so much easier to improve when you see results, even if it isn’t immediately apparent on the scorecard. I guarantee a solid practice plan, with tests, will get you seeing results on the scorecard sooner. Let me know if you have any questions or need help designing a test for your practice.
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I want to hear from you…
I’m always looking for new ideas to help my golfers. If you have a test or game that you use to work on a particular skill please share it in the comments section below. Who knows, maybe your idea will help a struggling player take it to the next level!
To get things started, I’ll share a previous post about a game called “Dinner Bells” that a student of mine plays that allows him to measure his practice more effectively.