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Practicing Wrong?


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What constitutes practice?  

I work from home and am in charge of my own schedule which leaves me plenty of time throughout the day for "activities".  The city offered a membership to 4 of the local courses for $65 a month, unlimited play so I picked it up.  Right now I'm playing 9 four days a week and 18 once a week.

While I'm definitely seeing improvement, especially when it comes to club selection and judging distance, there are areas where I'm still struggling.  I tend the view the 9 hole days as practice rounds, but should I be doing other things as well?  

I'm pretty consistent at being on or within about 5 to 10 yards off the green for my 3rd shot on a par 4.  But 95% of the time I'm 3 putting and ending up double bogey by inches.  I work on putting around the house, but it's a totally different beast on the course.  And I've seen huge improvements from when I started till now so I do feel that playing everyday during the week is helping, but instead should I go spend an hour or so on a practice green?  

Thanks in advance!

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  • iacas changed the title to Practicing Wrong?

It is one thing to miss a green and another thing, entirely, to leave yourself in exactly the wrong place in relation to the hole.  I'd back up and think about those second shots.  

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@iacas can you have a practice round vs an actual round?  9 hole days I'm usually by myself, take note time with each shot (unless there's anyone behind me), and put more focus on certain things each round, where as the 18 hole day I'm with someone and we're playing for score.  

I've only been golfing a couple months so I'm not trying to argue, it's just the way I've seen it up until now.  How would you recomend one would practice?  I'm 100% open for suggestions!

15 minutes ago, Piz said:

It is one thing to miss a green and another thing, entirely, to leave yourself in exactly the wrong place in relation to the hole.  I'd back up and think about those second shots.  

I dont know if I understand what you mean?  The shots I am getting on the green I'm usually pretty happy with but that could be me being naive as well.  

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26 minutes ago, ALong17 said:

@iacas can you have a practice round vs an actual round?

Missing the point - you can get more out of actual practice than you can playing. When you're playing, you're spending a lot of time not practicing.

I'm saying… learn how to actually practice.

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18 minutes ago, ALong17 said:

@iacas can you have a practice round vs an actual round?  9 hole days I'm usually by myself, take note time with each shot (unless there's anyone behind me), and put more focus on certain things each round, where as the 18 hole day I'm with someone and we're playing for score.  

I've only been golfing a couple months so I'm not trying to argue, it's just the way I've seen it up until now.  How would you recomend one would practice?  I'm 100% open for suggestions!

I dont know if I understand what you mean?  The shots I am getting on the green I'm usually pretty happy with but that could be me being naive as well.  

A couple of points

Practice by hitting two or three putts on a green because nobody is behind you on the course is not really effective.  Ideally, what you should be doing is go to a practice green area at least once a week and do drills.

What is meant by where you hit your second shot on a par 4 is aim at an area that gives you the best opportunity with your third shot if the second doesn't go exactly where you want it to.  So for example, if the pin is right edge of the green and just after that is a bunker, you don't want to go right of the green as you will short side yourself.  If you are on the left of the green you will probably have more green to work with in your third shot.  Or for example on the right of the green is a water hazard / OB keeping your ball a bit more left is a safer option.

In terms of practice, I would recommend reaching out to @iacas and reading LSW and Evolvr, both of which he is involved in.  I must admit I haven't used either, but many members here recommend it.

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23 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm saying… learn how to actually practice.

I totally get what your saying, but how does one practice?  

I play with with my brother, he's just as new as I am.  Other than that none of my friends play and my dad maybe plays 5 times a year for fun.  So no one I know practices so I have nothing to base it off.  

 

 

23 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

A couple of points

Practice by hitting two or three putts on a green because nobody is behind you on the course is not really effective.  Ideally, what you should be doing is go to a practice green area at least once a week and do drills.

What is meant by where you hit your second shot on a par 4 is aim at an area that gives you the best opportunity with your third shot if the second doesn't go exactly where you want it to.  So for example, if the pin is right edge of the green and just after that is a bunker, you don't want to go right of the green as you will short side yourself.  If you are on the left of the green you will probably have more green to work with in your third shot.  Or for example on the right of the green is a water hazard / OB keeping your ball a bit more left is a safer option.

In terms of practice, I would recommend reaching out to @iacas and reading LSW and Evolvr, both of which he is involved in.  I must admit I haven't used either, but many members here recommend it.

Thank you for the clarification!

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5 minutes ago, ALong17 said:

I totally get what your saying, but how does one practice?

For putting, I'd suggest you practice by going to a putting green and doing some drills. Just hitting some extra putts on the course while you're playing is pretty ineffective.

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I understand that you've targeting putting, and that's great, you should be able to improve that pretty quickly with some good practice drills.  I also read that you've just started playing golf.  This is the perfect time to get some good instruction so you start to ingrain good habits and techniques right from the start.  As someone who played for 20 years before getting  any real instruction, bad habits and techniques are REALLY hard to break, you'll do well to start doing things properly as soon as you possibly can.

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In addition to what other have posted, if it were me, I would trade one of those 9 hole rounds for time on the practice putting green. 

I'd work on reads, and speeds for the distances required. I would also work on hitting the line of my putt by hitting straight putts. 

Also since GIRs are low, in addition to working on hitting closer approach shots, I would also work on chips, and pitches to give up shorter, first putts.

Approaches, pitches, and chips also require reads of the green to some extent. 

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@DaveP043 I've taken one lesson so far, but currently I can only afford about one a month 😔.  My next one is coming up in two weeks though.  I did the Titleist Thursday tonight and the guy gave me a couple things to work on though until my next lesson!  Really opened my eyes!  I'm trying to be as much as a sponge as I can to soak up more knowledge.  

@Patch after reading everyone's feedback I'm definitely gonna do that!  One of the courses I found out has a practice green with bunkers and all so I'm going to try and hit that at least once a week before I hit the range. 

 

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To me I think good practice begins with accurate analysis of your game. Mostly this is done by keeping your stats or even better yet using tools like GameGolf. Only with a good understanding of your game can you devise a plan of attack as to what you need/should work on in your game. 

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Right now I keep track of my putting stats, but haven't done any of the others.  

I've been looking into Shot Scope and the reviews and stats it offers look amazing.  I'm not fimilar with GameGolf though.  

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+1 for the putting green. On days that I don't have the time to play a round of 9 or 18, I go to my local muni, get a small (20-25) or medium (55-70) bucket of balls and work through irons/wedges and maybe of couple of drivers. This takes me between 10-25 minutes. After that, I spend 15-25 minutes putting and 10-15 minutes chipping (if the green is crowded I tend to skip chipping). Those 15-25 minutes putting 2-3 times a week are worth so much more than anything else I do during the week. I usually spend 2/3 of that putting time with 3-5 balls inside of 10 feet, varying the range all the way down to 2 feet sometimes. The other 1//3 of the time is spent on 20+ ft with just one ball, just trying to get within 3ft and finishing out as if I were playing a round. It is amazing how the 3 putts disappear when you learn to lag put for a nice easy 1-3 ft second putt.

Basically a 1-1.5 hour practice session gives me way more advancement than playing the 9 or 18 holes that I would rather play. I would suggest turning at least two of your four 9 hole rounds into range/green time. I'll be following this thread for sure, as if I had the time, I would be playing the same way that you are currently.

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11 hours ago, ALong17 said:

@DaveP043 I've taken one lesson so far, but currently I can only afford about one a month 😔.  My next one is coming up in two weeks though.  I did the Titleist Thursday tonight and the guy gave me a couple things to work on though until my next lesson!  Really opened my eyes!  I'm trying to be as much as a sponge as I can to soak up more knowledge.  

A lesson once a month is probably fine, as long as you practice the things you learned from the lesson.  And again, practice probably means going to a practice range and working on specific things from the lesson.  On the range you can NOT care about where the shot goes, and pay specific attention to making a change in your swing.  That's something you can't really do on thee golf course.  Good luck!

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