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Design an Optimal Practice Plan


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What would a practice plan look like to become the best golfer one could possibly become? The only constraint is the player has a max of 4 hours a day to practice / play.


My plan:

Section 1: Full-swing

30 min technical block practice

30 min skills assessment (hitting to various targets and measuring proximity)

 

Section 2: Finesse wedges

10 min technical block practice 

20 min skills assessment 

 

Section 3: Putting

5 min aimpoint calibration 

10 min technical block practice 

15 min skills assessment

 

Section 4: On course

2 hours

 

Then I’d make adjustments to what gets worked on in a given section based on strokes gained stats.

 

I’d guess I could probably optimize the on course time somehow. Maybe worst ball… 

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This is a complicated question. 

5 Days a week: Irons & Driver 2 Hours, Play 9 holes
1 Day a week: 1 Hour Short Game, 1 Hour Putting
1 Day a week: Play 18 holes
 

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"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver: :callaway: GBB Epic,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: :srixon: (4-PW)
Wedges:
:edel: Trapper (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :bushnell: Tour V2

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1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

This is a complicated question. 

5 Days a week: Irons & Driver 2 Hours, Play 9 holes
1 Day a week: 1 Hour Short Game, 1 Hour Putting
1 Day a week: Play 18 holes
 

I like this. Might find that splitting it up in days might leave more motivation / energy to complete the practice sessions over my approach (where every day is about the same).

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12 hours ago, cedrictheo said:

Section 1: Full-swing

30 min technical block practice

30 min skills assessment (hitting to various targets and measuring proximity)

This section (IMO) should vary some depending on where you are in your current competitive season. In the off season with someone wanting to make some swing changes they could/should spend more than 30 minutes on technical block practice. Let's say 15 minutes were with irons and 15 minutes were with driver/woods. If you are practicing properly that's only ~30 ish swings with irons and ~30 ish with driver where you are working on technical things. (That's on the high side too, probably even less if you are filming every swing and reviewing the swings during the session)

Now if you were in more of an in season maintenance mode with your swing then sure it might make sense to have more of the full swing time focused on the skills assessment portion, but if you wanted to make serious improvements in your swing mechanics IMO you should be spending more than 30 minutes out of a 4 hour practice session on full swing mechanics.

Edited by klineka
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Driver: :callaway: Epic Flash Sub Zero
Woods:  :ping: G425 3Wood:ping: G410 3 Hybrid
Irons: :tmade: P770 (4-PW)
Wedges: :callaway: MD3 50   MD5 54 58 degree  
Putter: :scotty_cameron:  2018 Select Fastback
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I have several questions? 

  1. Is this an off-season plan or during the season? Not a ton of actual golf happens where I live from early November to Early March at least. 
  2. Where do you put the "getting instruction" part? Seems like there should be a part about "see instructor" or swing coach or what have you. 
  3. @cedrictheo Do you actually have 4 hours a day to practice? I wish I did. At best I could squeeze an hour per day. Some days more, but some days a lot less. 
  4. What about speed training? Granted I only do it in the off season and kind of every other year, but shouldn't that be included? 
  5. Any consideration about fitness? Either golf fitness or general fitness or stretching at least, maybe yoga, should any of that be included in the plan? 

My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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Given, each 4 hour period needs to have things you have to specifically work on. It isn't like, "Oh 4 hours of mindlessly bashing golf balls down range!" 

There is some use in bulk practice. 

"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
 fasdfa dfdsaf 

What's in My Bag
Driver: :callaway: GBB Epic,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: :srixon: (4-PW)
Wedges:
:edel: Trapper (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :bushnell: Tour V2

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In addition to the questions @ChetlovesMer asked… I have some issues.

13 hours ago, cedrictheo said:

My plan:

Section 1: Full-swing

  • 30 min technical block practice
  • 30 min skills assessment (hitting to various targets and measuring proximity)

Section 2: Finesse wedges

  • 10 min technical block practice 
  • 20 min skills assessment 

So you're going to try to create a new habit, a better swing, then immediately make probably just about as many swings trying to compete/score, which has a good probability of undoing all that you just did by going too fast, too soon?

That's how I see that.

I'd be much more in favor of dividing up the DAYS, and having one day a week where you do an assessment. And to keep things somewhat fresh, you could do assessments like this:

  • Distance Wedge Wednesday
  • Full Swing Friday
  • Swing Speed Saturday
  • Make Putts Monday

(Tried to go for the alliteration there on Monday…).

That way you're not just having one straight day of "assessments" (though I could see benefit in that, too).

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Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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6 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Given, each 4 hour period needs to have things you have to specifically work on. It isn't like, "Oh 4 hours of mindlessly bashing golf balls down range!" 

There is some use in bulk practice. 

To Matt's point. There was a guy, Dan McLaughlin,  once who was convinced if he just spent 10,000 hours practicing golf he'd "master" the sport, or something like that. 

I remember when this guy started this. He had a coach. I'd argue the wrong coach. His coach did something like this: 

He spent the first I don't know how many hours mastering the 1 foot putt. (I'm not kidding) Then the next umpteen hours mastering the 3 foot putt. Then the 5 foot and so on and so on. Then he was giving a wedge and spent several hundred hours mastering a certain shot (like 25 yards) with the wedge. Then work to master the 50 yard shot, then the 75. Only moving on to the next shot when he "mastered" the previous one. For more than a year, like about a 1/10th of his 10,000 hours he was only allowed to use the 3 clubs. - 2 wedges and a putter. 

When I saw the interview with the dude he was like 2 years into his plan and had finally been allowed a full bag of clubs. He was about a quarter of the way through his 10,000 hours. 

I remember thinking this is a dumb plan. Why not work on your full swing while you work on putting? You can learn to hit driver while you perfect your wedge distances. Waiting until you master a shot before moving on to the next one is wasting your 10,000 hours. In my opinion. 

The coach's philosophy for learning golf this way was that he didn't want McLaughlin just bashing balls down the range day after day. He also said something about McLaughlin needed to start by seeing the ball go in the hole. Which would make it more fun. To which I say Bullsh!t. Hitting awesome drives is fun. Nailing the center of the green from 185 out is fun. Think of how boring it must have been for McLaughlin. "I can't move on to 8 foot putts until I master this f-ing 6 footer." ... "The driver is just a distant dream." 

McLaughlin's experiment was doomed from the start. I get that you want structure in your practice plan, but why do it in a way that is so repetitive and painful? 

Yes, you need to work on your weaknesses, but it's also fun to do something you are good at every now and then. 

When designing a practice plan you need times to continually evaluate and make changes to get the most out of it. Mindlessly beating balls down the range doesn't do that much. But I'd also argue the mindlessly sticking to a practice plan (such as McLaughlin's) also doesn't do that much. You need to regularly look at your progress and where to put your limited time. Even McLaughlin only had 10,000 hours to spend. Why waste so many of them? 

BTW - In my humble opinion, this is one of the best threads on developing a practice plan. Yes, the opening post is long. But totally worth the read. 

Sorry about the long post. 

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My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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If you gave me 6 days a week with 4 hours each, I would probably play 3 of those days and then dedicate specific days for training and practice. 

So here you go: 

M-W-F money games. With real money you don't want to lose. 

T - Short game and putting off course and on course with an hour of pt

Th - Full swing - off and on course with an hour of pt 

Sat - Speed training, recap where you need help with an hour of pt 

Sunday - Day off 

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So far these ideas stick out as potential improvements to my plan:

  • in season / off season 
  • speed training 
  • better timing of skills assessments so as to not interfere with mechanics work (can’t wait for Full Swing Fridays!)
  • competitive rounds (for money)

I’ve left out gym work as I lift weights Mondays and Fridays every week and debating the right fitness program seems like a rabbit hole.

And yes @ChetlovesMerI do have 4 hours a day to practice. Although typically I only practice 1.5 - 3 hours a day.

Also, the Dan Plan was awful. I think we are doing much better here…

Did I miss anything? I’m going to rework this with these things in mind and will post an updated plan in the coming days.

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21 minutes ago, cedrictheo said:

So far these ideas stick out as potential improvements to my plan:

  • in season / off season 
  • speed training 
  • better timing of skills assessments so as to not interfere with mechanics work (can’t wait for Full Swing Fridays!)
  • competitive rounds (for money)

I’ve left out gym work as I lift weights Mondays and Fridays every week and debating the right fitness program seems like a rabbit hole.

And yes @ChetlovesMerI do have 4 hours a day to practice. Although typically I only practice 1.5 - 3 hours a day.

Also, the Dan Plan was awful. I think we are doing much better here…

Did I miss anything? I’m going to rework this with these things in mind and will post an updated plan in the coming days.

Yeah, I think this is a cool topic. 
I think it works great for a forum like this because its a topic where additional input can really help the result. 

BTW - I am very envious of your available time. 

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My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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Updated plan

Off season

Full swing 2 hours

  •  1 hr block 
  •  30 min skill / speed
  •  30 min block 

30 min finesse wedges

  • 15 min block 
  • 15 min skill

 

Putting 30 min

  • 15 min block
  • 15 min skill

Course 1 hour

Skill Assessments by day

Driver and Approach Mon / Fri / Sat

Distance Wedges Tues / Thur

Speed Training Wed / Sun

 

In season

3- 4 days a week doing the following and 2-3 days a week playing 18

Full swing 1.5 hour

  • 30 min block 
  • 30 min skill / speed 

30 min finesse wedge

  • 10 min block
  • 20 min skill 

Putting 30 min 

  • 10 min block
  • 20 min skill 

Course 1.5 hour

Skill Assessments by day

Driver and Approach Mon / Fri 

Distance Wedges Tues

Speed Training Wed

Also, some food for thought. Here’s what the GOAT did.

CBE8AAC5-0EC0-4650-8950-DD9668472744.jpeg

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So, is this sort of practice actually the correct way to schedule? I am curious, because I think there should be resources out there that could help in optimizing practice. 

Like, do you actually gain benefit from 1 hour block training, followed by 30 minute skill/speed, and then go back to 30 minute block training? 

You ideally want to find out what you need to work on to improve your swing, then block practice that specific thing. 

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"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
 fasdfa dfdsaf 

What's in My Bag
Driver: :callaway: GBB Epic,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: :srixon: (4-PW)
Wedges:
:edel: Trapper (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :bushnell: Tour V2

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35 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

So, is this sort of practice actually the correct way to schedule? I am curious, because I think there should be resources out there that could help in optimizing practice. 

Like, do you actually gain benefit from 1 hour block training, followed by 30 minute skill/speed, and then go back to 30 minute block training? 

You ideally want to find out what you need to work on to improve your swing, then block practice that specific thing. 

As for instruction, I think something like 1 lesson every 2-4 weeks in order to determine priority pieces for the mechanical block practice.

I am curious also about whether block practice gains are “erased” (as suggested by @iacas) when one goes from block into performance or skill based training. Reminded of the guys at Game Like Training. They do a lot stations that go back and forth between block and skill. This video is a good example of their approach.

https://youtu.be/9JMO1sHi8tI

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34 minutes ago, cedrictheo said:

I am curious also about whether block practice gains are “erased” (as suggested by @iacas) when one goes from block into performance or skill based training.

You know it can. I don't mean "fully" but it could be. Consider this:

If you make five slow, exaggerated swings… then just do skills work for 30 minutes hitting 60 shots, do you think that any results of the five swings you made earlier will still really be there?

I doubt you'd say yes.

So, if you make two hours of slow, exaggerated swings, and then hit one skill challenge type shot, the results of the slow work will still be there, right?

I bet you'd say yes.

So at some point in the middle, it crosses over from closer to "yes" than "no."

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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53 minutes ago, iacas said:

You know it can. I don't mean "fully" but it could be. Consider this:

If you make five slow, exaggerated swings… then just do skills work for 30 minutes hitting 60 shots, do you think that any results of the five swings you made earlier will still really be there?

I doubt you'd say yes.

So, if you make two hours of slow, exaggerated swings, and then hit one skill challenge type shot, the results of the slow work will still be there, right?

I bet you'd say yes.

So at some point in the middle, it crosses over from closer to "yes" than "no."

Yeah, I understand what you mean now. That leaves a tough question of how to determine the right balance.

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16 minutes ago, cedrictheo said:

Yeah, I understand what you mean now. That leaves a tough question of how to determine the right balance.

There's no right answer, because even within one person you're going to be slightly different every Wednesday.

Or Monday. Or the next day, let alone the previous week.

Etc.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | 5SK.com | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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(edited)
9 minutes ago, iacas said:

There's no right answer, because even within one person you're going to be slightly different every Wednesday.

Or Monday. Or the next day, let alone the previous week.

Etc.

Yeah, and there must be some sort of principle that could guide one to determine what's a better balance for that day, week, or even month (acknowledging that we can never find "best").

Factors that come to mind: how close mechanics are to the desired model, when the next competition is, what is most engaging to the mind that day

Those seem weak but that's all I have at the moment.

Edited by cedrictheo
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