When a student comes to me one of the first things I ask them is what their goals are. Nine out of 10 say they want to become more consistent. I then ask them how much they practice. Nine out of 10 say they hardly practice.
How can you expect to get better at something if you don’t work at it? Obviously the majority of us will never be touring pros, yet, if we could devote a certain amount of well-placed effort in a dedicated space of time, we could easily see our game improve. No matter whom you go to for help or what methodology you follow, you’ll never get sustaining positive results without effectively putting time and effort to it.
First realize that improvement will not come without work. Secondly you will have to devote time to this game. Once bitten by the golf ‘bug’ you will find the time to play, but hardly the time to practice effectively and productively. Hence, you will always be lamenting the fact that you’ll never break 100.
I agree that everyone’s time is precious. The business world is relentless in seeing to it that with what little time you have to yourself why would you spend it on a golf course where it will take one hour to get to, 5 – 6 hours to play, then another one hour’s drive back home. Then you collapse in a mentally exhausted, physically dilapidated state. No wonder your spouse hates the game!
So, when do you find time to practice? If you really want it bad enough you’ll find it somewhere! You should not, however, think that just by taking lessons you’ll turn into a tiger. Touring pros spend hours a day working on their game. It is their livelihood after all. If they don’t make the ‘cut’ after 36 holes they go home with no prize money. Yet they still have to pay for transportation, hotels, food and entry fee not to mention they have to pay their caddy. No wonder they devote years of acute preparation to perfecting their game.
You need to ensure a certain amount of time each week to work on the game. Let’s say that you devote two hours in one session a week to this task. Congratulations! You are already 10 steps ahead of everyone else. So you get to the driving range and beat balls for the entire 2 hours. Unfortunately, you’ve not only lost the 10 steps ahead and all you’ve achieved is probably getting exercise and reinforcing bad swing habits.
Whatever time you have; use it productively. I see people on the range hitting mostly drivers while the putting green remains empty. Yes, there is great satisfaction to seeing the ball fly straight down the middle of the fairway 300 yards. However, you can only get that kind of satisfaction 14 times during a round. You have many more opportunities at finding satisfaction on pitches, chips and putts during a round. A good short game is one of the keys to lower scores and a more satisfying round of golf. So you need to ensure you devote quality time to all parts of the short game, at least the putting and chipping part. Before you practice or play you should warm up properly. Many golfers don’t take this important step and they miss out on maintaining flexibility, developing a good rhythm and getting a good feel for the greens before they play.
By John Volz