Practice Like A Pro – Quit Hitting Ball After Ball With No Plan

Practice like a pro and yes your game will get better. Most Likely as I was, we all practice the wrong way. Hitting ball after ball with no real plan other than hitting that perfect shot.

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to attend my first Senior Tour event ( now the Champions Tour). I spent quite a lot of time on the driving range watching all those players that I have watched for years on TV. Some that were even on the regular Tour.

Yea, they were working on there shots and listening to coaches and all, but the amazing thing was they were playing a game against each other. On this particular driving range the far boundary was a chain link fence that had an offset in otherwise straight fence line, say maybe 30 feet. The players were hitting there drivers and shaping there ball flight to end up in the offset of the fence. It was like no big deal as ball after ball landed in the offset from different ball flight lines.

Another thing I noticed was the same thing was going on with there iron shots. Not simply hitting straight shots to a target but working the ball into the target. High, low, left to right, right to left. Plus they were not hitting every club in there bag.

Practice On Course Skills

Approach your practice time with a Ben Hogan thought in mind. Instead of hitting 20 balls with your 7 iron play each hole in your mind as if you were on the course. Hit your tee shot and decide based on your drive what club you need to get to the green and hit it. Play each hole in this way as a game to improve your skill with the clubs you will need for the next round.

Club Focus – Pro vs Amateurs

Using a 50 ball warm-up session as a guideline, average golfers tend to work there way evenly throughout there bag, with a particular focus on mid-irons. Pros on the other hand, seem to focus far more on wedges and drivers — two of the most important clubs in the bag. They work on hitting lots of different shots with there wedges, and different shot shapes with their driver.

Ya, I know this sounds easy but when you’re out there hacking your way through a bucket of balls and shots are going in every direction than where you want, it gets frustrating. Maybe it’s time to consult a pro the get your swing in order.

Practice should be a fun thing to do. Recently I watched a player hitting driver after driver in all directions and after each shot his erratic body language told a story that that shot was not what I was trying to do. It was kinda comical but not for the player. Things were not going well so to me the practice session was a waste of time for this person.

Quantity of Balls Hit – Pro vs Amateurs

In any given practice session how many balls does a pro hit vs an amateurs on average per club?

  • Wedge – A pro hits approximately three times more balls than an amateurs
  • Short Irons – A pro hits approximately half as many as an amateurs
  • Mid Irons – A pro hits approximately one third as many as an amateurs
  • Long Irons/Hybrids – a pro hits approximately one fifth as many as an amateurs
  • Fairway woods – a pro hits approximately one third as many as an amateurs
  • Drivers – a pro hits approximately twice as many as an amateurs

How Does Your Practice Session Look Compared To A Pro

Looking at the balls hit info above where do you rate versus a pro? OK I know us amateurs do not have the grooved swing as a pro so we end up pounding away trying to hit that perfect shot. Maybe we swing the driver like a mad man trying to hit it out of the driving range while knowing those range balls are not made for distance. What have we learned? We are tired and sweaty and most likely mad because we are not hitting it like we want.

Hitting endless balls and doing it wrong will not make you a great player. It is a lot easier to hit bad shots than it is to hit good shots. Why is that? Ever given that a thought? It is actually easier to play bad than to play good. I am not talking about pro like playing but your average like player having fun with his/her game and enjoying it. if you are the latter type player, seek some professional instruction and enjoy the outdoors.

Bottom Line

The next time you walk onto the driving range or practice area with a bucket of balls in hand do it with a plan. What am I expecting to accomplish today with this bucket of balls?

Do you want to play an imaginary round?

Do you have a particular swing thought or technical issue you want to work on ( only one of these per practice session. Too many in one session will only make things far to complicated)?

Or is this simply a warm up session for the upcoming round with your buddies in an hour or so?

What ever it may be, have a plan and stick to it and you will find your practice sessions are more fruitful and you will enjoy them a lot more.

Lee Trevino once answered a question a long time ago about practice. Why can’t you take your range game to the first tee? And his answer…..your not practicing correctly.


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Also find below useful training aids for your next successful practice session.