My Golf Instructor

How Much Should You Practice?
A Solid Practice Schedule Should be Designed With Both Goals and Availability in Mind

Learn how to schedule practice for golfScheduling Golf Practice Time

Yes, there are people with natural born talent, but there's hardly been a virtuoso in any field that didn't make practice a full time job at the very least. While someone might be gifted, to perfect their trade takes time, patience and practice. Research has shown that God given talent isn't what necessarily makes a person "great" at their trade. It's practice and dedication on the other hand that creates a champion.

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. - Martina Navratilova

With movies such as Rocky, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers and Miracle the idea that winners are bred out of intense physical work including the pain that goes along with it is fairly accepted in our times. Practice routines of Olympic Champions are well documented. It's not uncommon to hear that they work on their skills anywhere from 5-8 hours a day, 6 days a week on average.

In the game of golf, practice was almost unheard of in the early years. While stretching and pre round warm up probably seemed like a good idea to most competitors, the idea of just spending time on the range beating balls and trying to perfect form between rounds was almost non-existent. Then came Ben Hogan. With his "dig it out of the dirt" mentality, intense focus and work ethic, the game as people knew it changed. After seeing huge success coming from someone of slight build who had once struggled tremendously to make money on tour, other professionals started to believe that the key to their success might lie in practice as well. From that point on there has been a constant cascade of information coming out to help a golfer practice better. This isn't just the golf swing I'm talking about either. Suggestions on how to improve one's fitness, agility, focus, short game, attitude, course management and pre-shot routine just to name a few are definitely not hard to come by.

Design Your Practice Plan Around Your Personal Goals and Availability

How much should one practice though? While the answer to this depends on how skilled a golfer wants to become, the obvious answer would be "as much as possible." Not everyone is out to play the tour, much less play professionally at all, but if a golfer is serious about improving, a solid practice schedule is a must. A practice plan needs to be designed around both a player's goals as well as their availability. Scheduling practice sessions that a player knows he or she won't be able to keep will only add frustration.

I think an important point to make here is that quality is always better than quantity. The ultimate goal is to get the most out of your practice session that is possible as opposed to just putting in the time. If trips to the practice facility are hard for you to schedule, on those few practice sessions you do get in, make sure that the sessions cover all areas of your game and allow for ample time to work on your weaknesses.

The Situation:

You are trying to decide how much practice time you need to schedule to improve your game.

The Solution:

When deciding how much to practice, there are three things to consider:

  • how good to you want to get?
  • how much free time do you have to schedule practice sessions?
  • what is your primary area of focus?

Once you establish how good you want to be the next step is to set a realistic time frame. For instance, if you are a 30 handicapper and your goal is to become a single digit, assuming you can get there in one year's time is a bit unrealistic. The higher the handicap the bigger the amount of strokes you can knock off. Once you get to a single digit, it's difficult to knock more than one stroke off your handicap per year. So make sure to set realistic goals and plan for long term improvement, not immediate success.

Checking your schedule to see how much time you have to practice is as simple as eliminating sleep time, work time, family time and any other regularly scheduled activity that you need to perform. Once you come up with a set number of free hours schedule your practice in regular increments if possible. In other words if you have 4 hours a week, 4 separate hours on different days would be better than just two 2 hour practice sessions. The more often you do something the better.

Tracking your stats is important for recognizing your weak areas. Some players don't even realize that they even have weak areas that stand out until they see it on paper. Our game tracker is a phenomenal tool for tracking your improvement. It's free of charge, simple to use and can really help you implement an efficient plan. Once you know your area of focus, simply plug it into our free practice planner and get started. The planner is designed to allow for a bigger chunk of time (30%) on your primary area of focus until that part of your game improves. At that point, you can simply change your area of focus or just choose overall game and have a balanced plan to work with.

Deciding how much to practice and setting up a realistic plan will put you on the fast track to achieving your goals.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
Basics
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
Driving
- Driving (68)
Putting
- Putting (127)
Rules
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Problems
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
Distance
- Lack of Distance (108)
Putting
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
Grip
- Grip (65)
Setup
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)