Coaches Corner: How to Practice your Swing Properly
To start this Coaches Corner, I would like to use a strategy that I was taught in a public speaking course, and begin with a joke:
Q: What did the 17 handicap say to the 18 handicap?
A: This is how you do it!
I really like that joke, not to make fun of high handicaps, but the fact that golfers always want to help other golfers. That is one of the many reasons that I love this game. One of the main problems is that both of these golfers do not know how to practice. They are trying to change the swing by hitting ball after ball with the same club, over and over. Hitting ball after ball only reinforces bad habits and it will be very hard for you to improve. The vast majority of golfers do not know how to practice.
Yes, the swing can get better with block practice, but we are going to talk about how to practice your swing to make you a better player on the course. This is called transfer practice, and is something that I rarely see on the practice range. If you think about how you play golf on the course and think about how you practice, there is probably a big difference. On the range, you may stand there hitting ball after ball with the same club, never really taking time for a practice swing or changing your target.
On the course, you will most likely, never hit the same club two or three times in a row, the target changes, you take more time between shots. You may go through your pre-shot routine with a definite purpose to the shot you are about to hit. If you practice your swing the same way, it will be easier for you transfer your practice to the course. After you warm up, maybe 10-20 balls, take out your driver. Tee up the ball, go through your pre-shot routine, pick a target and fire away. After that shot, take out your 7 iron and go through the same process. Always change the club that you are hitting after each shot. Hit your driver then a wedge, three wood then an eight iron, 6 iron then a 9 iron. Try to never hit the same club twice in a row.
Your clubs are different lengths and practicing this way trains the mind to be in game mode and trains you to be able to adapt to the change in the lengths of the clubs shot after shot. This is how we play the game, try to practice the same way. This should help you transfer your game to the course and lower your scores.
The Coaches Corner is brought to you by our Oaks Course Golf Pro, Brad Patton. Brad is the Lead Staff Instructor and PGA Assistant Golf Professional. He has real a passion for golf and instruction, and has been part of the Oaks Course team for several years.