How Many Hours Should I Practice my Golf Game?

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

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?”

Britton Sparks

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.

Mr. Vaughn:

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.

Lord Berry:

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.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author 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: or

All the Same Distance

I hit all my clubs, seven-iron and longer, the same distance. Do you know of a cure?

Bad Rhythm

My swing rhythm gets fast when I play. Do you have any suggestions to help me slow down?

Bad Teacher

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. Any suggestions that might help him?

Ball Position

Can you explain your take on ball position? Forward for longer clubs? Back for shorter clubs?

Die or Lag

Do you think it is better to be a firm putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Fanning the Club

My tendency is to fan my hands to the inside on the takeaway. When I use a straight takeaway I can't hit the ball.

Fix is the Problem

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. It works for about six holes, then I totally collapse. Have you heard of this?

Get the Ball to the Hole

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. Can you help?

Golf Schools

Are golf schools worth the money?

Guide the Ball

My golf instructor tells me that I try to 'guide' the ball too much. I've never heard this term, is it a bad thing?

Hip Slide

Can you explain the proper way to pivot during the backswing?

How Many Hours

I'm currently a solid 8-handicap, but I've reached a plateau. How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?

Kids Learning Curve

My thirteen-year old son and I took up golf four years ago. Now, I am still struggling to break 100 while he shoots low 80s. How do I catch up?

Length of Backswing

I've read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Long and Slow

I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well, but I can't hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life.

Make Practice Swing

I have a beautiful practice swing, but it doesn't carry over to my real swing. Any Suggestions?

More Distance

I'm a good athlete, but don't get the distance I think I should. How can I hit the ball farther off the tee?

No Scoop Chips

I suffer from the chipping yips; I can't prevent my right hand from taking over and flipping under the ball. How do I avoid scooping the ball?

No Touch Short Game

I have no short game touch, and I'm a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch. Any help?

No Whiffing

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. Please help!

Range Brilliance

I'm a great range player, but can't get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me?

Sound Swing

An assistant pro refers to some swings as "sound," and others, "not sound." Can you compare and contrast the two?

Taking Lessons

I've taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, but I never get better. Are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?

Teacher a Good Player

Do you think it is important that a teaching professional be a good player?
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How long should I practice my golf game?