How Many Hours Should I Practice my Golf Game?
Currently a solid 8-handicap, I’ve worked hard at golf for years, and with great results. But recently, I’ve reached a plateau, and don’t seem to be improving any more. My question: “How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?”
Jitterbug Gang Fan
First of all, you’re asking the right question. The old saying goes, “If you don’t change what you do, you can count on things to stay like they are.” So it is true in golf.
But, I can’t answer your question. Rather, you have to take a look at your game and find out where you’re losing shots. Chart every shot for your next ten rounds of golf and find out what’s happening. Record how many fairways and greens you hit, how many putts and so forth. After that, examine the fairways, green, and putts you MISSED. Examine all your par opportunities lost, and ask yourself why?
Was it bad thinking or poor execution? Wrong club? Too lazy to go back and draw the right club? Too many short-sided approach shots? Lack of commitment on makeable putts? Can’t get a long putt close? Bad chipping? Bad bunker play? Always hit an errant shot on this or that particular tee?
Believe me, you will see a pattern of mistakes. And, only then can you tackle head-on that which really does cost you strokes.
Let’s say you decide 2006 is the year you’re gonna get in good physical shape. Your goal is to lose 50 pounds, so you join a gym.
And, unlike most folks, you actually show up to work out. The problem is that all you want to do is bench press. Day in and day out, you go bench press, and come March, you can bench press 80 more pounds than you could on New Years Day. That’s great, but did you accomplish your goal? No, you didn’t even address it. And, it’s too bad because you were so committed, so diligent, but got nothing for it due to your misguided work ethic.
Mr. Sparks, you gotta get on that cardio machine. You gotta due some stair steppin on them short putts. You gotta do some recumbent bicyclin’ on them chip shots. You gotta treadmill some of them greenside pitch shots. And, soon enough, them pounds will begin to fall off.
Most golfers believe the earmark of a world class golf instructor is simply a superior understanding of “THE GOLF SWING,” as if such a thing exists.
The truth, however, is that world class instructors are really world class coaches, as the role they play in guiding one’s practice sessions is far more significant than the occasional overhauling of one’s technique.
It really is plain and simple. It’s not how many hours you practice, but rather, what you practice during those hours.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner
About the Author
The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.
You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org