How to Practice!

Quiet, relaxed practice with a purpose!

First of all, most practice sessions are different than a warm-up before the round. When you go to the range before the round you’re typically trying to get the body ready for the round and find a feel and ball flight for the day. In this case, I’d recommend finishing the session by playing 3 holes in your mind (Holes 1,2,3 for example) and hitting shots to the targets as a way to prime yourself for the round and that nervous first tee shot.

But we are here to talk about practice and I’d break it down into 4 segments:

  1. Determine the Goal

Let’s say the 3 options are Technical, Performance or Maintenance. I’d recommend the majority of your practice during the season to be Performance (testing, games, competition) and the least on technical. In the off-season I spend more time on the technical side as I work through any changes that need to be made and I worry less on performance.

For this example, I’m going to focus on Performance and I’m going to play the 36 Shot Challenge (found here).  

2. Warm Up

For most people I’d recommend doing a dynamic warm up before you start hitting balls as I prefer to be ready to move for the first ball strike, rather than warming up by hitting 25 balls. The idea though is just to be ready once your play the game. I often do these stretches from Ido Portal –

3. Complete the Task

In this case I play the 36 Shot Challenge.  I’m probably hitting 1 ball every 45-60 seconds as I’m not trying to rush through the game. When I test myself I’m trying to get myself in the same mind-frame as when I compete on the course. If I can, I’d like to make the practice more difficult than the actual game although nothing is better than actually playing on the course.

4. Review

Record your score. Make some notes on how you felt or what your swing feel was. You can also make notes on your mental or emotional awareness during the practice. If you had a particularly good session, write down and swing keys or thoughts that you had. These notes can come in useful during the inevitable tough periods of the season.

One last thought: Ditch the Phone. This is your time to practice and train in an effort to reach your goals. Take the phone out of your pocket and leave it in your bag on silent.

Good luck!


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