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Efficient Practice Recommendations


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I’m sure I’m not the only one here with a family and limited practice time. That being said, I’m in the process of making what feels like major swing changes. 

Primarily, my issues are a late loading backswing and passive arms that lead to a steep downswing that relies a lot on timing. I’ve been swinging with these faults for a while so making the changes has been extremely challenging. 

With limited practice time, how much time should I spend implementing these changes via drills and slow intentional swing feels compared to practicing different aspects such as my drives, approaches, wedge shots and short game? I’d be fine hitting bucket after bucket just working on drills but can’t figure out if that would be the most beneficial to my game. 

Thanks for the help!

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For general practice, this ratio is what I'd recommend:

Making real changes in the golf swing is hard for everybody. Make sure you're practicing properly. A good topic on that subject is here:

I have limited time for practice, too. I also find I enjoy doing full swing work more than anything else so that's what I always end up spending most of my time doing. Lately I have found that just doing some basic short game motions in my office is enough for me to improve my short game and that's kind of opened up a new area of practice for me because it literally takes a few minutes out of my day. Now if I can figure out how to practice my putting inside of 10' I might actually be decent at this game.

Welcome to TST.

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Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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I have made an effort in 2024 to do more mirror work and rehearsals. Pretty much every time I go into my room with the full length mirror or when I am at the gym I try to do at least 10-20 reps practicing my priority pieces of my swing. It takes like 30 seconds to a minute and I likely do that 2-3x per day most days.

Come to find out, that work appears to be paying off. When I am at the range it feels easier and more natural to get into those positions because I've done hundreds of dry reps with them already.

 

As far as how much time should you be spending on the slow intentional swings to make the swing change vs practicing other skills, I think it depends on a couple things especially since we are in the middle of the playing season right now.

First, what is your handicap/skill level? My answer is going to vary slightly if you're a 0.5hcp vs a 18.5hcp. 

Second, what is your overall goal? Do you just want to shoot lower scores, do you have a specific tournament(s) in mind you want to peak for, do you just want to have a better looking golf swing?

Third, where does your current level of ball striking compare to the rest of your game? Is ball striking a strength that you are trying to make stronger, are you a wizard around the green but struggle with approach shots, etc.

 

As a 2.5 who is trying to just shoot lower scores and peak for a few tournaments/events this year, I do spend some time working on slow intentional swings focusing on my priority piece, but it's not necessarily my primary focus. Right now with the amount of golf I'm playing I'm in more of a maintenance mode with my iron swing and utilizing my practice sessions to work on specific skills that haven't been good over the last few rounds. I'm not trying to do a complete overhaul or get major swing changes to stick mid-season. 

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1. My handicap is a 6. 

2. Regarding my goals, I’m just looking to get more consistent overall. Due to my swing relying so heavily on perfect timing, I’ll play great one day then follow that up with a round that looks like I’ve never picked up a club before. I’ve never really cared much about how my swing looks and I don’t have anything on the schedule I’m trying to peak for. 

3. My strength is definitely my short game. I can typically strike the ball pretty clean but because I get so steep and over the top, my miss with everything from my driver to wedges is a straight pull. Clean contact just starts left of my target. 

In the Lowest Score Wins, they talk about Dave having a swing fault that was causing issues in his play and his ability to get comfortable on the golf course. He hit lots of balls thinking of nothing else than what he was trying to work on. Regardless of his attempts, when he went to his instructor, he kept getting the same lesson over and over again. The solution was having him do a drill and only hitting shots no further than 50 yards. I can certainly relate because the last two lessons I’ve had we worked on the same exact things even though I’d been practicing with a focus on correcting my faults. If I implement taking 65% of my time working on my full swing, should I take a page out of Dave’s book (no pun intended) and just work on drills to try to better ingrain the feeling?

I’ve implemented certain aspects of the drills into my pre shot routine to ingrain the intended feeling. I’m still just really struggling to take my swing feels to the course. I’ve always been a firm believer in playing golf when you’re on the course and not getting caught up in a bunch of swing thoughts. With this being such a big change, I have a bad habit of going right back to my old ways when I only envision my intended shot shape and focus on the target. 

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Making swing changes is hard. 

5 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

If I implement taking 65% of my time working on my full swing, should I take a page out of Dave’s book (no pun intended) and just work on drills to try to better ingrain the feeling?

I wouldn't take 100% of the full swing time working on drills to ingrain the feeling, you still want to make sure you keep some touch with the rest of the irons/woods, maybe you do something where if you practice 3x per week on full swing, 2 of those sessions are like 90% focused on drills and swing improvements and 10% is on other full swing things, and then the other 1full swing day is maybe split like 50/50 on drills/swing improvements and more "game" like skills, trying to curve the ball, punch shots, face control practice, etc.

Something like I outlined above is what I would do if I was trying to make a big swing change mid-season that way you don't lose form with the rest of your full swing clubs while trying to make the swing change.

 

10 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

I’ve implemented certain aspects of the drills into my pre shot routine to ingrain the intended feeling. 

This is good. Keep doing this.

 

11 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

I’m still just really struggling to take my swing feels to the course.

Then the new swing hasn't fully taken hold yet.

The order of learning goes something like this

1. Learn the new motion

2. Be able to do the motion slowly without a ball

3. Be able to do the motion slowly with a ball on the range

4. Be able to do the motion at half speed with a ball on the range

5. Be able to do the motion at full speed with a ball on the range

6. Be able to do the motion at full speed with a ball on the range without thinking about it

7. Be able to do the motion at full speed with a ball on the course

You are almost certainly going to progress forward a couple of those steps, then regress, couple more forward then regress, etc. But think about this, if you can't do the motion at full speed with a ball on the driving range even while thinking about it, you probably don't have much chance doing it properly when on the course and there are so many other variables to consider as well (lie, elevation, target, wind, pressure, etc)

This post talks about it more

 

17 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

I’ve always been a firm believer in playing golf when you’re on the course and not getting caught up in a bunch of swing thoughts. 

A bunch, sure, but I don't think there's anything wrong with having a specific swing thought or two on the course. Some of my best rounds have come when I'm hyper-focused on one specific swing thought, being so focused on that thought helped keep negative thoughts out of my head and I just focused on the swing thought and made the best swing I could.

 

20 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

With this being such a big change, I have a bad habit of going right back to my old ways when I only envision my intended shot shape and focus on the target. 

That is normal but that also means the new move isn't fully ingrained yet and you need to practice more. 

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Driver: :callaway: Rogue Max ST LS
Woods:  :cobra: Darkspeed LS 3Wood
Irons: :titleist: U505 (3)  :tmade: P770 (4-PW)
Wedges: :callaway: MD3 50   MD5 54 58 degree  
Putter: :odyssey:  White Hot RX #1
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13 hours ago, wetzel1592 said:

I’m sure I’m not the only one here with a family and limited practice time. That being said, I’m in the process of making what feels like major swing changes. 

Primarily, my issues are a late loading backswing and passive arms that lead to a steep downswing that relies a lot on timing. I’ve been swinging with these faults for a while so making the changes has been extremely challenging. 

With limited practice time, how much time should I spend implementing these changes via drills and slow intentional swing feels compared to practicing different aspects such as my drives, approaches, wedge shots and short game? I’d be fine hitting bucket after bucket just working on drills but can’t figure out if that would be the most beneficial to my game. 

Thanks for the help!

First, drives and approach shots will improve by working on the full swing. So, they are not separate from working on your priority piece.

Second, how bad is the short game? 

Third, you can do 5 minutes a day and gain progress. How about allocate 10-minutes at least once a day to working on your priority piece. Then you can throw in a longer range session once a week if you need to. Priority pieces are going to take a while to have it stick. For some, it might be something you never stop working on, or needing to refresh the feel.  

 

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51 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

First, drives and approach shots will improve by working on the full swing. So, they are not separate from working on your priority piece.

Second, how bad is the short game? 

Third, you can do 5 minutes a day and gain progress. How about allocate 10-minutes at least once a day to working on your priority piece. Then you can throw in a longer range session once a week if you need to. Priority pieces are going to take a while to have it stick. For some, it might be something you never stop working on, or needing to refresh the feel.  

 

My short game is definitely the strength of my game. 

Luckily I work from home so to your point I’m going to allocate some time every day just to swing feels during my down time. 

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35 minutes ago, wetzel1592 said:

My short game is definitely the strength of my game. 

Luckily I work from home so to your point I’m going to allocate some time every day just to swing feels during my down time. 

Always give you something that can give you feedback. The brain works by slowly rewiring neural pathways that by doing a comparison between what you were doing before to what you need to do. 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
 fasdfa dfdsaf 

What's in My Bag
Driver; :pxg: 0311 Gen 5,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: Sub 70 TAIII Fordged
Wedges: :edel: (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :leupold:
Bag: :ping:

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(edited)

Not a pro, however I've found slow swings and low-power swings to benefit me the most.

I use a mirror a lot too so I can get the right feels, then I go to the course (or at home) and then I go to the course and try to apply what I'm trying to do. I like to step my progress.

I start with super slow swings, until I can get what I want down.

Then I do like a 3% power swing, video myself and then check to see if I'm still doing what I want.

Then slowly as I keep executing correctly I start ramping up the speed. (this is over a long period).

So right now in my swing, I can shallow the club out nicely with super slow swings, I can also do it at like 20%ish power, but 50% power I can't do it, and 100% power my swing basically looks the same it did before I made any changes. It's a slow process. Eventually I will ingrain the move.

There's quote from Nick Faldo when he was asked if he could do everything over again, what would he change, and he said he would hit LESS balls and spend more time in front of a mirror.

If you're looking to make changes, you need plenty of feedback (video, mirror, training aid) and you also need to really train your body to do the new move, this is done through slow-deliberate swings.

 

Edited by pinseekingdreams
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