Practice with a Purpose

For the past couple of weeks I (Tim) have been on a “golfing tour” of sorts.

First, I played in a Nationwide Event 2 weeks ago, then spent a couple of days teaching at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, then played in a PGA Pro-Am (was there with Jon Daly – some of you might have heard his interview today talking about Cherokee Hills – course he played yesterday for practice – was there with him…) and walked the PGA with Todd for a couple of days (interesting side note – surprising how many recognized Todd from the Golf Channel interviews about Moe… pretty cool…)

Needless to say, in the past couple of weeks, we have been around a lot of pretty good players. Okay, a little better than pretty good – the best players in the world… (I spent about 2 hours today with my son watching Tiger warm up and play a few holes…)

As I watched these players there were some very interesting points that came to my mind I wanted to share with all of you. Especially as we watched them practice for their tournaments (whether at the Nationwide Event or the PGA) … Not necessarily the practice just before they were about to play (warm up type practice – or as you have learned – Practice type A), but rather the practice they put in on Monday/Tuesday before their event (Practice type B).

1. Focus – It was amazing the focus the players put in their practice.

What do I mean by focus – give you an example.. Justin Rose was working on his takeaway – apparently, he (and his coach) felt like he was taking the club too far inside on his backswing. I watched him for about 15 minutes on the range. He would take 10 to 15 practice backswings (just backswings), looking at his backswing, trying to “feel” the correct move, performing it over and over and over again VERY slow – then he would hit a shot. I bet in 15 minutes, he only hit about 10 to 15 golf balls – all the rest of the time was spent “rehearsing/practicing” the correct move in his backswing. His focus on his practice was amazing. I saw this same type of practice in most every player on the practice tee…. when you could tell they were getting tired (100* temperatures will do that to you pretty fast) – they would walk away and take a break or quit for a while… it was very obvious… when they lost their focus, they walked away.

2. Rhythm – As always, the rhythm of good players is a lot of fun to watch.

What do I mean by rhythm? Good players NEVER try to force the ball – the “let it happen”. In other words, I would bet most use 80% or less of their energy when they are hitting shots. They understand a shot hit solid is MUCH better than a shot hit hard. It will be more consistent, controllable, and most importantly – repeatable.

3. Practice Stations – Todd pointed this out to me… at least 9 out of 10 of the professionals on the range had at least an alignment type tool on the ground when they were practicing.

Some as simple as a golf club pointed to the target, some much more elaborate devices. Some had training type clubs (grips, etc..), some swing type jackets, and many other devices… Shingo Katayama had a hoop type device hanging from this neck with two golf gloves hooked onto the hoop – he put this gloves in his armpits (assume he was trying to keep his elbows in during his swing…) Needless to say – many, many different training aids were being used.

4. Time Spent Wisely – Maybe because it was 100* + or maybe because they knew where you score – but without exception – more time was spent on the short game practice area than the driving range.

Time was spent working on putting, chipping, pitching and bunker play. Was interesting watching the practice on the green – most had some type of practice station set up (as simple as two tees in the green – putting between, to using a string for alignment to as elaborate as mirrors and putting arcs, etc.)

So what can you do…

  1. Work on all the above. Set up your practice sessions so you can focus on getting better – focus on very specific areas of your swing/golf game. Don’t get “tied up” working on the “entire game” – the more specific you work, the better you will become. Use training type tools to help you practice, whether they are as simple as a string on the green (ALL my alumni better be using these.. you can see more in our Total Game Overview), to as elaborate at our Training Grip Club – practicing with the “correct tools” will ALWAYS aid in improvement if done right.
  2. This past week (while Scott was on vacation) – I answered the phone for him and answered many emails. I bet I answered 150 to 200 calls/emails relating to the golf swing other golf game issues. A lot of good questions – but I will be completely honest with you here – 95% of them could have been answered if they would have watched our instructional material – our Total Game Overview or our 7 Principles of Golf Improvement. If you haven’t seen our instructional material you are “behind the 8 ball” – yes, we do have a lot of information on our website and now youtube – but it is NOTHING compared to our instructional material in our Total Game Overview or our 7 Principles…

Good Luck, Tim

Remember – Always Practice with a Purpose

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