Sixty Minutes of Quality Practice

At the course where I teach, a gentleman comes out to practice everyday at 3PM. He stands in the same spot and hits the same iron, to the same target for the same amount of time everyday. How much better is this golfer going to get? Not much, if you believe that everything you have done in golf up to this moment has led you to be the golfer you currently are. This golfer has always had the same practice routine and it has led him to be the player he currently is. If he wants to get better he must upgrade the input in order to upgrade the output (results).

Today I wanted to map out how you can make the best use of your already limited practice time. With the objective being scoring, I have focused our 60 minute session on driving, wedges and putting. Now, I understand that not everybody has 60 minutes to practice or a facility to practice where you can work on the shortgame or putting, but fitting the general ideas from this article into what you have available to you will start to move the needle in a positive direction. I am also assuming that you have stretched and warmed up prior to starting the clock...

First 20 Minutes - Technique and Driving

Spend the first 10 minutes working with a middle to short iron on any pertinent drills or feels you are trying to incorporate into your swing. You should be using an alignment aid and all shots should be directed towards one target.

The next 10 minutes should be spent hitting driver down various fairways you have created in your mind's eye (eg. between the red and blue flags). I recommend the 20 Ball Driver Drill where you try to hit as many balls as possible in play out of 20. Have a goal score in mind and try to write down what you score everytime you do this drill.

The Second 20 Minutes - Wedges and Shortgame

Spend the first 5 minutes in the sand. Take all your wedges and start with some shorter shots and work out to 30-40 yard shots. Make sure you even hit a few of those longer shots with your PW.

For the next 5 minutes I would practice chipping and bump and run type shots. Pour some balls out in close proximity to the green and starting with a 7 iron hit one shot to each of the holes on the green (4 or 5). Work this approach all the way through your most lofted wedge. The best part is that you have not hit the same shot twice - just like on the course.

In the final 10 minutes focus your attention on pitching. These shots could be from anywhere in the 20-90 yard range. As you hit these various shots do not hit the same shot more than twice in a row. Teach yourself to control the ball flight by changing clubs and rely on your feel more than anything. My favorite drill here is the Golf Ball Drill - it sounds strange, but all I do is hit a multitude of pitches to random golf balls lying out on the range. This way I am reacting to my target.

The Final 20 Minutes - Putting

You use the putter more than any other club in the bag and that's why it receives the most attention. I would like you to focus on two drills here - one that isolates shorter putts and another that encourages touch and feel.

The first drill is what I call the Jack Bauer Drill. Place tees 3 feet from the hole at N, S W and E and using three balls go around twice holing three putts from each point. You need to hole 24 (thus Jack Bauer!) consecutive putts in row. If this takes longer than 10 minutes quit and conquer it next time. Remember - practice is all about building confidence.

The second drill is called String and here you attempt to "string" together as many two putts from 40+ feet as possible. Compete with somebody if you can or simply try to establish your own personal best.

You can now head home knowing you have put in a solid hour of work on your game.

Additonal Resources:

Put purpose in your golf practice

Golf's Simplest Practice Aid

Simple Alignment Aid This must be one of the simplest, yet most helpful practice aids I have ever come across!

This teaching aid will greatly assist any golfer, not only with their alignment, but also provide an excellent visual image of what the swing path should be through impact.

If you are looking for a “high tech device” you are in the wrong place!  All you need is a 8-10 foot heavy piece of  nylon string available at any home improvement store and two golf tees.   Attach the ends of the string to each tee by burning off or tying and place the tees in the ground as illustrated.  There is no concern for a line that is 'parallel left' of your target here, as the string is placed almost directly on your target line.  It cannot be bumped off line or cause damage if hit during a swing.

The golf ball should be placed a few inches inside the string.  When hitting driver you can actually tee the ball up right on the string!

As you address the ball, not only will you be aligned correctly, but you will get a clear sense of what it means to swing "down the line."   This handy device can be used for all shots, including work on your chipping and putting.

If PGA Tour players are using this, surely you too should give it a try!

  • Place the tee closest to the target in the ground first and then back up and align the string at your intended target.
  • Start hitting shots toward the front of the string and work the divots back along the inside of the string.
  • The clubhead should never cross the string, either coming into impact or exiting the hit.  Feel the clubhead staying 'inside the wall' so to speak.
  • If you think you don't need this, trust me, you do!

Proper Practice!





Things to Ponder:

  • What do Kenny Knox, Nolan Henke, Tom Byrum, Willie Wood and David Peoples have in common?  Besides the fact that they all played in the 1988 Greater Hartford Open (?) they are all playing on the PGA Tour this week!  There must be more competent golfers out there......
  • Lance Ten Broeck (see above group) caddied for Jesper Parnevik in the morning and then played, shooting 71, in the afternoon!  Never heard of that before...
  • Hey, David Feherty, ever heard the joke about two bullets, Nancy Pelosi and Osama?  Ever heard of a fellow CBS commentator called Ben Wright?  BTW Feherty is working the Valero Texas Open this week although I'm surprised he's not playing!
  • Michelle Wie still wants to compete against the men!  And I want to drive down Magnolia Drive in a red Ferrari and win the Masters....
  • My pick this week, Justin Leonard, is looking good so far.  Go boy, go!
  • I know of two teams in fantasy golf who picked Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter!  How's that for a $2.8 million pay day?