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|The Importance of Practice
"Practice makes perfect"...a cliche that still rings true
Practice in the Off-Season
It is usually during the winter months that we notice a change in our practice habits. This is due to the lack of sunlight, the unpredictable weather and holiday demands. How exactly do these affect our golf game? Lack of practice decreases our muscle memory and takes away from the confidence we once had from reinforcing our swings on the range. Often times our index goes up and we shoot scores above our average, which can lead to frustration and anxiety.
How can we help to alleviate this problem? Start by doing things in your own home. Build a practice putting course and have fun carpet contests to sharpen your putting stroke. Take a club to the back yard or garage and practice swinging for 10 to 15 minutes to help strengthen muscles and promote good swing thoughts. Watch golf videos and tournaments on television to keep your visual senses going. Read a good golf book to keep up your interest in the game and give you something to look forward to on the next sunny day. Don't let your golf game hibernate for the winter. You worked hard to get where you are.
The Practice Green
When on the practice green, concentrate on the speed of the ball. The speed is the velocity in which the ball must travel (on the correct line) in order to reach the intended target consistently. One of the most common questions asked by golfers is, "How much does this break?" The answer is always the same, "How hard are you going to hit it?"
Remember that your line is relative to your speed. All great putters have great speed or touch. To develop touch or speed control you must go to the putting green and putt to different holes with different lengths. Use the "ladder drill" where you start in close and gradually hit from further away. Putt some extra long putts, putts that break hard to the left or right, etc.
Any speed drill will help your overall putting game...especially if you don't play everyday since you will need to adjust your speed game for the day's green conditions.
A Lesson In Lesson Taking
It is very important to understand that how you go about taking golf lessons is directly related to how much you will learn and achieve in the lessons. A good teacher can guide you on creating a better golf swing but you must be clear on what you want to learn.
First, it is important to find an instructor that you are compatible with. Just like when you were in school, there are many different types of teachers, all teaching the same topic but explaining it in many different ways. I suggest interviewing teachers over the phone before signing up for a lesson. Start with the instructor you feel most comfortable with.
Next, decide before going if you want one lesson or a series of lessons. Do you need to work on something for the long term or is this just a "quick fix"? If this is for the long term, such as a 6-week series, plot out a plan that you want to work on. For example, if you want to cure that slice with your driver make that the first priority. Maybe work on that for two or three sessions and then work on your short game. Make sure you communicate your plan to the instructor so that he/she knows exactly what you want to accomplish.
Always take a notebook along so either you or your instructor (or both of you) can jot down notes about each lesson. Practice as much as possible between each lesson so you have feedback for the instructor. Never tell your instructor you understand something when you don't. They are there to help you and can't do so if you aren't honest with them. By following a plan, communicating with your instructor and practicing, you should have a very positive lesson experience.
Questions to Consider
When you tromp off to the putting green, do you really feel prepared to putt consistently? If you believe that putting practice only entails dropping a few balls five feet from the hole to work on your stroke, then you are shortchanging yourself.
Check your putting practice...do you lack discipline in speed, stance, aim or line?
Analyze your putting problems - are they related to your stance, stroke, follow-through, etc.? What can you improve on?
Are your problems all mechanical? Take the time to study your putting game - work on your putting weaknesses and not just on your mechanics.
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Honey Run Golf Club ~ Call 1-717-792-9771 for tee times
Honey Run Golf Club ~ 3131 S. Salem Church Road ~ York, PA 17404 ~ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ~ Fax: 717-792-1770