As I watched Tiger Woods win the Bay Hill Invitational, I heard the commentators and Tiger discuss how many balls he was hitting after his rounds. What could Tiger possibly need to practice after playing better than he has in a couple years? Well, if you listened to any of his comments, he wanted to ingrain the techniques that he and coach Sean Foley had been working on. This got me curious. How many players stop practicing or hit range balls with no purpose when they are playing well? How can they possibly retain what they had been working so hard to achieve? I want to introduce an idea of how to practice and improve when you are already playing your best.
Unfortunately, when a player comes to see me they are normally struggling and need to work on a specific piece in their golf swing. On most occasions, this forces us to hit the same golf club and work on it until the student finally grasps the feel, but every so often the light bulb goes off and the student can’t miss. That’s when the fun begins and when we can do a little something I call “dynamic practice.” Dynamic practice is just like its name. The shot, club, lie, or target change by the shot. It is an unbalanced type of practice that is much more like playing a round of golf. The way dynamic practice works depends on the skill level of the player and the facility they’re using. If you are a really good player, try to cut one shot and draw the next. If you aren’t at the skill level of working the ball on purpose, try and mix up your target. I constantly tell my students that they must have a target, otherwise it’s just exercise. That doesn’t mean it always has to be the same one. Hit your first shot at the left green and the next at the right. This forces you to go through your pre-shot routine and focus on the things that actually happen on the golf course. Another awesome dynamic practice technique is to hit the ball from different lies. If your practice facility or golf course allows it, try hitting a few shots with the ball below your feet and a few with it above your feet. Observe how the ball reacts and what you need to feel and do to execute the shot properly. At a recent gathering of local PGA Professinals, one professional suggested this is the reason European golfers are presently dominating the Americans. I thought this was a great insight because for the most part, I grew up practicing hitting the ball from perfect lies – something that rarely happens on the golf course. Now if you or your coach has you going through some sort of swing change, dynamic practice may not be what you need to do. But otherwise, focus on getting that feel and result, but when it all finally clicks…MIX THINGS UP!
Dynamic practice helps work everything from your mental game to your swing technique. The best part about dynamic practice is that it’s fun. The time you spend on the practice tee seems like it passes in no time. So the next time you are on the range and don’t have anything to work on, try some dynamic practice. There is nothing better than improving on your best. Thanks for reading and let me know if you need some more dynamic practice techniques. See you on the lesson tee!!