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Practice is repeating a new skill until you become proficient at it. Once the new skill has been learned further practice can enhance the ability to maintain. Practice can encompass both physical and mental aspects of the game.

Practice Tips

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  • The Driver Head is Difficult to Feel

    Because a driver is long and light it is difficult for you to feel where the clubhead is at the top of your swing. This is a common complaint among students on the lesson tee. They just can't seem to get comfortable, because they can't tell if they are in that perfect slot or not. To help combat this use a mirror or video while you are practicing. Having that visual aid to check your position will give you the confidence you need to trust your swing.

  • If Time is Short Go Green

    Before your round make sure to spend time at the putting green. Putt to the fringe to get a feel for the speed of the greens without putting pressure on yourself to drain putts. Then spend some time making some 3 footers so your eyes can repeatedly see the ball drop into the cup. This way you are learning the speed before you tee off and building confidence. Remember, if you only have a few minutes go to the putting green rather than the driving range.

  • Don't Practice Swinging at Air

    Don't practice swinging at air. You will get really good at it! Practice hitting something...the ground. When you are on the driving range try taking a divot and then start your next swing at the front of that divot and take another one going forward. Pretty soon you will have made a nice straight line of divots across the range. The superintendent will love you! This way, you will get comfortable with hitting the ground on every swing and hitting it at the right spot; in front of where the ball lies.

  • Learn to Work the Ball

    During each practice session spend a little time working the ball. Most golfers feel they can't curve the ball left or right, but this is mostly because they have never tried it. Working the ball is easy with just a few adjustments to your set up. Like anything else though, be sure to spend time playing around with it on the practice range so that you will actually have the confidence to try it on the course. I recommend that my students end their practice sessions having some fun working the ball left, right, high and low to let their creative juices flow.

  • Know When to Quit

    If your practice session is taking a turn for the worst, stop and come back tomorrow. There is no sense practicing when you are getting upset and there is no sense in grooving a problem into your game. You are better off coming back another day with a clear head and hopefully without the swing flaw that is causing you problems. Remember also, to have productive practice you don't have to hit balls. Just going through the swing motion on a practice swing or at home is enough to help you change your swing for the better and without the negative feedback.

  • Make a Realistic Rehearsal

    Make certain that your practice swings are rehearsals, meaning exact replicas of how you intend to swing at the ball. It doesn't do any good to make soft, slow practice swings when you are getting ready to bust a drive. It also doesn't make much sense to make a huge pendulum swing right before you are going to knock in a tap in. Try to make your practice as realistic as possible so you are actually prepared to hit the shot.

  • Play Golf on the Range, Not Swing

    Play a round of golf on the driving range. To make your practice as realistic and course like as possible, for at least part of every practice session try playing golf. This means pick targets, go through your pre shot routine and play imaginary holes. Start with your drive, hit your second and third shots and even roll a putt off the mat. Imagine some of the holes on your favorite course or even get creative and play some of your dream courses. The idea is to put yourself into realistic on course situations as much as possible.

  • Maintain Posture When Checking Swing

    To check the position of the top of your practice swing use a mirror. If you don't have a mirror available simply rotate your head to peek, but be careful not to stand up and change your posture. When you raise up and change your posture the position of your arms, plane and clubface will change so you will not get an accurate picture of what's really happening in your swing.

  • Limit Your Practice Swings

    When making practice swings it's a good idea to make just two. More than that is overkill and could hold up play on the course. If the first practice swing doesn't feel right you have a second chance to get the feel. When you are on uneven lies, or hitting a trouble shot you may need to make more, but in general keep it to two. Make sure that you hit the ground on every practice swing and put the effort and speed into the swing that you wish to apply to the ball.

  • Go For the Reward, Not the Risk

    When teeing off go for the reward, not the risk. Never aim for trouble unless you are a highly skilled player that can bend the ball consistently. It's best if you pick a very specific target, but a safe one that will leave you room on either side should you miss the ball. Make sure to visualize the flight of your ball to your target as you make your rehearsal swings. Then, once you set up to the ball make sure to look up a couple of times to see the flight of the ball to the target before starting your takeaway.

  • One Thing at a Time

    Work on one thing in your swing at a time. Golf is difficult enough, so don't complicate it by trying to do 2-3 things in one swing. Keep in mind that the golf swing is about 1 second long. That's not a lot of time for a lot of thought. If you are trying to work on several things in your swing break your practice session down into segments. Maybe hit the first half of your balls working on one thing and then the second half working on another. It's always best though to work on one thing until you have it locked in and then move on to another.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
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- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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