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ALong17

Practicing Wrong?

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Okay, I know you are getting a whole pile of advice here. I'll throw one more thing at you. Consider doing the "5 minute per day practice challenge" on this forum. 

For many people 5 minutes of practice daily can be as effective or possibly more effective than 1-1/2 hour practice sessions once a week. 

I tried to do the 5 minutes a day practice challenge a while back, but I kept missing my weekend updates. It may be time for me to try again. 

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ALong17, practice has a purpose.  It has to.  Simply improving muscle memory is not remotely enough to improve.  If you are like me and virtually the entire amateur golfing world, you are doing a raft of things wrong every time you swing the club.  Your practice should be aimed at correcting those errors.  That comes from knowledge.  The more you truly understand about the full mechanics of a golf swing, the more fruitful your practicing will be.

Put another way, if improvement is your goal (and not just the love of the game or something), every time you are either on the range or on the course, if you do not have a specific goal for that occasion - and then you actually work toward that goal while playing, you are wasting your time.

 

Good luck, sir.

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@ALong17 I would also try to abide by this:

Don't get caught up in the outdated advice some give to spend a great deal of time on the putting green. If you have an hour to practice, maybe 10 minutes on the putting green is sufficient. And if you are doing that be specific on what you are working on. Don't just mindlessly stroke balls from 15 feet at a hole, assess the weakest part of you putting and find a drill to work on it.

Also, just buying a medium bucket of balls and hitting them one after the other is not practicing. I know you stated that you believe your putting to be the root of your problem, but most of the time we blame the short game when it's really the long game where we are losing the majority of our strokes. For example, I hit an approach shot onto the green 60 feet from the pin. I three putt from there and blame my putting for the bogey, when it was actually the shitty approach shot that was the problem. 

Remember, the long game is more important than the short game. The long game is a much bigger determinant of your total score than the short game.

 

Edited by NM Golf

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Wow, thank you everyone for the advice!  

I've stepped back and taken the best look I can at my game and tried to identify my problem areas.  

1) I open the club during my downswing causing me to hit off the toe, which is extremely evident during drives.  I did a fitting last night and the fitter showed me how to correct it so I have a general idea of what to work on there.  

2) My short game is atrocious!  I can bump and run fairly well, but beyond that I have no clue what I'm doing.  I've scheduled a lesson to focus on that and plan on taking what I learn and implementing it into a practice routine.  

3) Ball placement.  I'm not exactly confident in where to place the ball in my stance in relation to the club I'm using.  Again I've scheduled a lesson for this as well on the range, also hoping to use this lesson for more clarification on #1.  

4) My distance gaps.  I am picking up Shot Scope to help with this and club selection.  Also to help expose the holes in my game that aren't as obvious to help further a practice routine. 

5) As mentioned before, putting!  

After a lot of thought I do plan on doing away with 2 of the 9 hole rounds and using the 2 hours I would have spent walking between the range and the putting green.  I talked to the Pro and he recommended getting a bucket and going to the green/chipping area first and then finishing on the range.  On this note I have fallen into what I assume is a common problem amongst new player and have been putting a ton of emphasis on how far I can hit instead of how well I can hit.  So for the time being I'm gonna slow down my swing to work on more controlled shots.  

Over the next couple weeks I plan on having a pretty detailed plan for each session in place!  

Once again I really appreciate all the advice!

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1 hour ago, ALong17 said:

Wow, thank you everyone for the advice!  

After a lot of thought I do plan on doing away with 2 of the 9 hole rounds and using the 2 hours I would have spent walking between the range and the putting green.  I talked to the Pro and he recommended getting a bucket and going to the green/chipping area first and then finishing on the range.  On this note I have fallen into what I assume is a common problem amongst new player and have been putting a ton of emphasis on how far I can hit instead of how well I can hit.  So for the time being I'm gonna slow down my swing to work on more controlled shots.  

Over the next couple weeks I plan on having a pretty detailed plan for each session in place!  

Once again I really appreciate all the advice!

I think you'll progress much faster with this plan.  I like the idea of doing your short-game work first, its also a nice way to warm up, doing nice short swings before you work on full swings.

One thing I'd suggest, as a beginning golfer you'll want to work on both clubhead speed and solid contact.  But both of those will come from improved swing mechanics.  So as you're saying, don't swing hard, learn to swing properly.  

Good luck!

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Unless it has already been posted, I might add that you purchse a couple of metal yard sticks. 

These come in handy for alignment purposes. Also, being numbered, you have a series of reference points for feet, and ball placements. 

I use mine quite often as check for my set up. They get me back on track, when the little things in my set up start slipping away. 

Be sure to get the metal ones, as the cheaper wooden ones will warp. Add in an erasable marker to mark feet, and ball placement reference points, and you are good to go. 

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There's a ton of good advice on this site.

Iacas is a top 100 US teaching pro and his book, LSW has great advice. And many of the folks here are + HCP players. 

I've taken heed and moved from a 24 to a 19 this year.

Things I've learned:

-Full swing distance is very important. It's more difficult for me to increase distance than improve my short game so I spend more time on full swing.

-Due to age I have to stay flexible and maintain core strength so exercise every day I do not golf.

-Flag hunting kills me. I aim for the largest part of the green I can see. I can two putt 9 out of 10 times. I can successfully flag hunt 1 of 10

-I have finally learned to not follow a bad shot with a stupid shot. 

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5 hours ago, Patch said:

Be sure to get the metal ones, as the cheaper wooden ones will warp.

I have fiberglass driveway rods which are cheap ($3) from Lowe's and they have worked great going on four years.  

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On another note. Another type of practice is getting familiar with different shots. Trouble shots, or other wise. The more, different shots a golfer has in their bag, the better player they will be. Better players shoot lower scores.  

Shots like hitting from the rough, from under trees, uneven lies, thin lies, hitting out of a fairway divot, and what ever else we golfers can think of.

Got carry a 100 yards over water? Fake the water hazard, while thinking it's actually there. 

We all practice the easy shots, but sometimes forget to learn something about the tougher shots we encounter. 

Also, and I think it was Mr. Hogan who said that during competition, he rarely, if ever, hit a shot that he had not practiced, or was unfamiliar with. 

A guy in Oregon came up with, and marketed a flash card system to use on the driving range. What ever the shot the card listed, that was what you would hit. Found out he started out with blank index cards, and hand wrote the various shot discriptions. I bought a set of them from the Fiddler's Green GC. It was fun using them. Made you think about a few things in between shots.  Still have them....some where. 

Make practice fun. 

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23 hours ago, Patch said:

On another note. Another type of practice is getting familiar with different shots. Trouble shots, or other wise. The more, different shots a golfer has in their bag, the better player they will be. Better players shoot lower scores.  

Shots like hitting from the rough, from under trees, uneven lies, thin lies, hitting out of a fairway divot, and what ever else we golfers can think of.

Got carry a 100 yards over water? Fake the water hazard, while thinking it's actually there. 

We all practice the easy shots, but sometimes forget to learn something about the tougher shots we encounter. 

Also, and I think it was Mr. Hogan who said that during competition, he rarely, if ever, hit a shot that he had not practiced, or was unfamiliar with. 

A guy in Oregon came up with, and marketed a flash card system to use on the driving range. What ever the shot the card listed, that was what you would hit. Found out he started out with blank index cards, and hand wrote the various shot discriptions. I bought a set of them from the Fiddler's Green GC. It was fun using them. Made you think about a few things in between shots.  Still have them....some where. 

Make practice fun. 

Interesting. Sometimes at the range I'll play a "simulated" round. I pick a local course I know well and imagine I'm there. First hole, 399yd par 4, hit Driver from the tee. I pick a particular target that represents the fairway. How far I hit it determines the club I pull for my approach, and I pick a different target to aim at so I'm not hitting on the same line every shot. And so on. 

On the green do some specific drills, like Michelson's circle drill. Also, use a couple of tees to make yourself a "gate" that is about an inch wider than your putter. Put a ball between the tees and stroke some putts. This will train you to strike the ball in the center of the putter face. Heel and toe strikes will mess with you. 

In addition to sharpening your short game, if lag putting is a problem then yes, you'll have to work on it. There's a thread on the "Swing Thoughts" page, I believe, titled "Do NOT accelerate when putting", or something to that effect. I've worked on this since I read it and it has improved my putting, especially my lag putting, a lot! 

Sometimes, just work on putts from 3' to 5'. If you make a bad lag, and you will, we all do, those are the ones you have to make to avoid 3 putting. And, if you stick your approach close, those are the ones you want to 1 putt. I've heard more than one pro say that it's important to see the ball go in the hole! Over and over again. Practice success!

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So many great tips in this topic. We all learn in different ways, but being golf IS a sport (and the most difficult sport on the planet), that means you goitta still think like an athlete. And what do athletes do, to make their game better?

 

They drill. Drill. Drill. I'm talking Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in Armageddon drill. Drill your short putts (until you get sick of it). Drill your pitches, chips, bump and runs, lag putts. And do the same at the driving range. And as others have suggested, use your imagination when practicing as well; play a round on the range, compete against yourself on the putting green, etc. Keep it fun.

 

Now, with golf more than anything, there is often concern of practicing poor habits and the fear of having to unlearn them down the road. So always get advice from studs on here, your local pro, whether it be lessons or a small critique. Film yourself and analyze as best as you can. Have a goal for EVERY practice session. Perfect practice makes perfect. But you just have to put in the work practicing.

 

 

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