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Sugarloaf Golf Club (865) 924-1708 zzondlo@pga.com

Practice? We talkin’ about practice!

This past Thursday we started our Supervised Practice Sessions. Our goal is to improve our golfer’s practice habits. We want them to be able to get the most out of their practice sessions. There are too many golfers that go to the range and blast balls with no intention and wonder why they are not improving.

Block Practice is what you typically see on the range. A golfer hitting 7 iron after 7 iron until their hands are too sore to swing. Block practice is beneficial when you are working on the fundamentals or a swing change, but you should not be spending too much time in this area. This form of practice does not help you take your range game to the course.

If you are not working on a swing change, I would recommend 20-25% of your time in this area. Make sure you are going through your routine after every shot and take some time to think about the shot. You could be more productive taking 15 minutes to hit 6 golf balls then you would hitting 15 balls in 6 minutes.

Variable Practice is a great way to work on your skill. This is where you are pushing yourself and making the practice as random as possible. We do a 30 ball challenge in our practice sessions where golfers are really tested. Whether trying to hit with your feet together or in sumo stance, you will be forced to adapt to the challenge helping you improve your skill.

Another great drill in variable practice is trajectory/ball flight challenge. Are you able to hit a 6 iron low, high, and normal trajectory? Can you draw it, fade it, and hit it straight? Hit 6 balls and try to hit all 6 trajectories/ball flights. You can make it more difficult by trying to hit each ball flight with the three different trajectories.

I am a huge fan of variable practice. I think you should spend 30-35% of your practice in this area. When you are on the course, you rarely hit the same shot twice and this area forces you to hit one shot and move on. I have seen my students improve their skills by adding more variable practice to their routine and I am confident you will do the same.

Simulation Practice is necessary to translate what you are working on to the course. The easiest way to do simulation practice is by “playing a hole”. By doing this drill, you are working on your visualization, as well as holding yourself accountable for each shot. Play your local course and keep track of how you play it. The next time you play you will be more comfortable throughout your round.

You should be spending 40-50% of your practice in this area. Similar with the variable practice, you are making sure you are not hitting the same shot twice and are holding yourself accountable.

If you incorporate each of these practice routines into your practice plan, you will see your scores getting lower. I will be happy to sit down with you and build a practice routine that can help you shoot the lowest score possible.

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