How To Play Golf - Establishing Your Golf Practice Priorities
Practice Like The Pros
All good players understand the importance of prioritizing practice on areas of the game that make the greatest difference between good golf and great golf. I will give you some interesting stats below that demonstrate what makes players like Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Tiger Woods the great players they are.
Most amateurs waste practice time beating balls on the range while neglecting the parts of the game that make the biggest difference to scoring and playing their best. Go to any range and you will see the following bad practice techniques; hitting full shots without a practice station, hitting more than 30 balls with a driver, and hitting very few wedges.
If you want to become a better player you must practice the things that Phil Mickelson and other pros consider to be important to playing their best.
What Does Phil Think About Practice Priorities
During the US Open Championship this year, Phil Mickelson was asked by a reporter during his pre-tournament press tent interview what has made the difference in his game over the last 10 years. Phil's answer was very revealing. He stated the most significant progress and improvement in his game are the result of; distance control, variety of shots into greens, short irons, being able to take the spin off shots, landing the ball consistently the right distance, short game consistency, and putting.
These were Phil's exact answer to the question. So if Phil believes these things have made him a better golfer than what he was at 30 years of age, we should learn from his example.
Did you notice that he did not say anything about swing changes and the pursuit of a "perfect golf swing".
There Is No Such Thing As a Perfect Swing
I find the promises made of instruction for the "perfect golf swing" to be amusing. The greatest players in the world do not have perfect swings. With all the money on the line in today's PGA Tournaments, the typical PGA Tour Player would be the first to signup for a swing of perfection if it was a reality. It's not...in fact lets look at some stats to demonstrate my point.
I looked up the stats for Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Tiger Woods in 2010. Of these three players I would bet that most golfers surveyed would think that Jim has the least perfect golf swing of the three players. Looks can be deceiving.
Of the three golfers, Jim won the most tournaments, won the FedEx Cup, and finished highest on the money list.
How Do These Players Stack Up on Stats
I looked at 6 statistical categories to give you a comparison of these great players and to show you how little full swing practice means to them. I looked at Driving Accuracy, Greens in Regulation (GIR), Total Driving, Scrambling, Putts, and Scoring. There are a total of 250 players that were included in the stats calculations.
When it came to Driving Accuracy, Jim was 9th, Tiger was 160th, and Phil was 184th. When it came to GIR%, Jim was 76th, Phil was 134th, and Tiger was 153rd. When it came to Total Driving, Jim and Tiger were 89th, and Phil was 111th.
Clearly these great players are not where they are in terms of winning performances based upon accuracy and driving supremacy. So what makes the difference?
When it came to Scoring, Jim was 5th, Phil was 9th, and Tiger was 24th. When it came to Scrambling, Jim was 16th, Phil was 39th, and Tiger was 164th. When it came to Putts, Jim was 28th, Phil was 34th, and Tiger was 35th.
Practice Like The Pros For Better Golf
Establish your golf practice priorities to maximize your practice time on the things that will have the greatest impact on your score and not your ego. Its great for the ego to bang balls as far as you can with the driver. You will only use a driver 14 times in a round of golf. You will use a putter about 32-36 times per round. Based upon those numbers, which is more important?
When you hit balls on the range, have very specific targets. Have a plan in mind on exactly what you are working towards. Set a goal in mind specific to how many balls you will hit towards that goal and then stop and work on something else.
Always include time at the short game area and work on the gate drill and magic circle practice stations. Hit balls from tough lies...the kinds of lies you will face on the course. Practice your pitch shots paying specific attention on carry distance and targets.
Practice your putts using the gate drill, string practice, around the world, and distance/feel practice.
95 percent of golfers do not know how to play golf like they practice. This is the secret to playing great golf.
About the Author
Stephen Simmons is the author and publisher of the Strategic Golfer Instruction Series. Steve is a single digit golfer living in San Antonio, Texas. Find more golf tips for beginners, proper golf swing, and how to play golf lessons located in golf tips for beginners at http://www.strategicgolfer.com. Please feel free to leave your comments or inquiries on our Contact Us page at http://www.strategicgolfer.com/contact-us.