Practice every day
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I think if you rotate what you practice, you're better off. I tend to get burned out, though. I do rotate an hour of putting, and hour or more of short game/bunker, and an hour or more on the range. I rarely practice all three or two of three on the same day.
I find that practicing probably saves 4-5 strokes off some of my rounds, and wonder if it's really worth the effort just for that.
I guess it depends on how you define practice. Will going to range everyday and hitting balls for an hour help your game? Yes to a point. Most effective practice would be working on your priority piece, doing slow motion swings, practice drills and simulating shots on the course. Some great practice, what I've been trying to do more of, can be at home, slow swings, mirror work, etc.
I did some of my best practice at a time where I could hit balls on a net at home. If I wanted to hit some balls, try a different feeling or something, I just went out and hit some balls. Sometimes an hour at a time, but often just 5-10 minutes here and there. I think that worked better for me than hitting balls for 1-2 hours a few days a week.
I really like be able to do this as well. Short and specific, with a purpose, trumps bashing endless balls any day.
I think if you could practice short game every day, chipping and putting, you will likely see the best improvement in your game instead of hitting full shots at the game.
That being said, I don't practice my short game nearly as often as I should, and I know that is what is causing me the most strokes.
Lately I've been playing or practicing every day. I play at least 18 a day. I think I'm a bit of an anomaly in that I find time on the course to be much better practice than the range. Maybe I just don't practice "correctly" at the range. But I feel that my swing is consistent enough that the biggest thing I need to work on is bad lies, bad angles at the pin, awkward distances. To sum it all up, I personally think that playing a round vs time at a range is better because it makes you learn to adapt to unique situations that wouldn't present themselves at a driving range.
I forgot to add, I am one of the biggest pro-at home practicing people there are. That's the time that I focus on mechanics and implementing any change. I make slow swing in front of a mirror to certain spots, repeat that a lot. I suppose I might have invalidated any argument I may have made in my first post with that.
Haha I realize that and I didn't mean to do it. I'm definitely more of a feel player but I don't try to make changes on the course. I make changes at home more than anything. If I feel I need it, I'll go to the range and hit a few buckets, focusing on just a few specific things. But overall, I'd rather just take my swing to the course on a non busy day and drop some balls in bad lies or angles and see what I can do. I practice specialty shots at the range or practice hitting off of a slope. Not sure if I clarified that at all..
Take it with a lot of salt since I'm a pretty high handicap, but while I don't get to the range or practice green all that often I do a little something almost every day. I have an extra gap wedge that I bought before getting the (good) advice to match my wedges. I keep that club in my living room and constantly pick it up when I'm on the phone or watching TV or whatever and practice my backswing and setting the club. 4 or 5 times a week I'll take that same club in my backyard and hit foam balls over the house with a full swing or onto the roof with a half swing and let them role back down. I think it helps a ton to just keep the feel of the club between rounds.
Everyday at home while watching TV I'll swing a weighted club for a while, and then I'll putt for a while (I put a bottle of Bourbon on the carpet and try to hit the bottle as I putt from several feet away). I may also do some swings in front of a big glass window that serves as a mirror. I do this practically every day.
Most people will go out to the range, bang a bunch of balls and never actually get much value out of it. Same goes for putting and chipping. Merely hitting balls isn't going to help much aside from maybe helping your contact. Practicing can be extremely beneficial if you actually setup goals for each session and focus on what you're doing, rather than just doing it to do it.
I played my best when I got at least some practice in most days. I'd still take a week off here and there when I just felt like I needed the time away. But I felt my ball striking was sharpest, my "touch" was best when I got to practice. Sometimes it was as little as 5-6 shots on the range and 20 minutes around the practice green. If that's all I needed that day, then that's all I needed.
Other days....I shudder at the thought of how many hours I've spent in the sun baking away, in the rain getting soaked, just trying to "tighten it up".
So, I guess put me in the "it depends" camp. If you need it, then practice. But at the same time, if you're just mindlessly hitting balls or chipping and find yourself not doing what you need to be doing (and sometimes that means practicing not caring...if that makes sense), then you should stop for the day/week/month.
As many say here, if practice means hitting balls on the range, than i think you still would benefit something,
but if you set targets you will improve far better and faster.
If i have a range session i always have some drills to work on, i will hit to a target and i'm trying to shape the ball,
specially fades. having a hard time hitting them left to righters.
Last month i did a lot off pitches and i got to say that this makes the most difference to my game, i manage to
make up and down from 50 - 60 yards in on a regular basis. this makes me feel very confident about my game,
really want to try to get to hdc 5 by the end off this year. I think a solid short game is key to get there.
Got really into silly little details too some of it not needed. Went to the outside of my swing like grip and wrist break and arm bend. It was beneficial to check but not change.
However it was working from the centre of my swing where the magic happened. My turn and weight distribution and address position. This had a massive change on my ball striking.
I have been chipping every day just about. To stop the boredom I hit different chips and pitches,and my Labrador gets exercised because she runs after the halls. Mickelson's hinge and hold has transformed my chipping. The feel I have now.
Also I could never do one handed chipping drills before. That early wrist break really makes a difference.
Practice but as others say with a plan. I think Erik outlined the 5 S's didn't he? Can't post the link because I'm posting this from a mobile but its easy to find if you do a search.