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Golf Practice Tips

Variety is the Spice of Practice

Golf practice tips by golf psychology expert Dr. Patrick Cohn.

A main principle in motor learning is to practice your sport in a variety of settings and conditions. In tennis, players are forced to play an infinite variety of shots. A player must hit a return shot with the ball bouncing in any direction or height—low, high, behind, curving, when running, and when off balance. In golf, you don’t hit shots while running and the ball is not moving, but of all the golf practice tips you adopt, one must be to hit shots with several different lies, possible distances, and weather conditions.

On the Course, you are forced to hit uphill, downhill, sidehill, and flat lie shots. You also get various lies on the course. This requires that you be creative with practice so you can be confident with any shot you encounter during play. This is what makes golf so interesting; you never have the same shot twice on the course. When Seve Ballesteros was a kid, he took only three or four clubs to play the course. He was forced to create shots that he wouldn’t normally hit. He attributes these experiences to his keen imagination on the golf course.

One of the best golf practice tips is to vary practice in many ways. Besides switching clubs often on the range, you can vary the lie of the ball. Practice shots from perfect lies, buried lies, perched lies, divots, and sandy lies. Vary the trajectory and curve of the shot. Hit high and low shots, right to left and left to right shots, specialty shots, and half and full shots. You can change targets on each shot. Vary the terrain where you hit shots. Hit shots from uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies. You get the picture. Don’t just hit balls from a flat, perfect lie on the range to the same target. You hit all kinds of shots on the course, so why not get good at them in practice first?

One of the most obvious golf practice tips is to take all of your clubs to the range and hit wedge to driver! You use all your clubs when you play so why not practice with all the clubs in the bag! You might have a favorite club or two you prefer, but how well can you hit a non-favorite club when you have to on the course? If working on swing mechanics, by all means use your favorite club. But if you are practicing shot making, take your golf bag to the range, switch clubs often, and mix it up. One of the best golf practice tips is if you are practicing hitting golf shots, don’t hit more than 10 shots in a row with same club.

The best golf practice mimics the shots you anticipate playing in the next round of golf. Many tour pros prepare for tournaments by hitting the exact golf shots they need to hit in the next tournament. For example, if you normally hit a driver and then a seven-iron on the first hole, hit these clubs in practice. If the next hole calls for a two-iron off the tee hit a two-iron. Practice all the clubs you expect to use on the golf course.