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Getting better requires proper practice techniques

Marc SolomonBy Marc Solomon,

I Want To Play The Worst Golf I Can Possibly Play!

Isn't that one of the most ridiculous comments you ever heard?

Well, believe it or not, golfers are constantly saying that to themselves everyday on the golf course. Do you ever say that to yourself?

You might not even know you are saying that to yourself, but you are if you say things like - "I stink! I STINK! I hate that DRIVER", or "I have got to be the WORST putter that ever LIVED!" Well, have you?

If you haven't, have you ever listened to another golfer say it or something resembling these self-defacing comments? Just because you might be using different words, doesn't mean they do less harm. I agree. We all want to play our best all the time, but to play your best, you must be prepared in more ways than one.

To look in another direction for a minute, I want to talk about practicing golf. Do you ever practice your golf game? How do you practice? The driving range, putting green, practice bunker, or do you putt on one of those little putting mats you can lay on the floor and the ball rolls back to you?

But, I mean do you ever practice your golf game? It is great to practice your stroke (swing) using the above techniques, but there is more that goes into playing your best golf and lowering your scores than just doing the above. Do you agree? Have you ever thought of improving your golf in other ways besides the above?

OK, what other ways can you improve your golf game? Well, an understandable choice is mental training. You hear a lot about that now especially with Dr. Rotella writing two books that sold well. How about physical training? We can credit Tiger Woods for bringing that to the forefront, even though Gary Player has been preaching it for more than 30 years. Come on. Think of one more way to improve.

I am going to tell you what I feel is the best way for you to practice - it is to practice golf - meaning learn how to challenge yourself to get to the next level. Practice handling the pressure. Use practice drills to measure yourself, and do it all as practice your stroke (swing). Great golfers do more than just practice their stroke when they want to improve their golf.

For example what do you see when other golfers practice their putting? Most golfers I see throw three balls on the putting green and then putt them to a hole. If they miss on the first putt, they try to knock them in the hole on the second one and then go to the next hole. What does that do for your golf game? The only knowledge you get out of "practicing" this way is that you learn the speed of that particular green.

This is how I help golfers like you to improve your golf game - I use a putting game that I call the Tour Putting Square that I learned from Rick Jensen. When you practice using this game, you will become a mentally tough putter. And I say tough because the best putters are mentally tough - Tiger, Jack Nicklaus, Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer are the toughest putters that have lived. They do not get nervous and in fact are confident in their abilities when facing an important putt that could change their lives or set aside another spot for them in the record books.

Here is how you can set-up the Tour Putting Square

Find a hole that has an uphill, downhill, left to right, and right to left putt -- Place a tee 3 feet from the hole for each of the above putts -- You need to make 3 putts in a row from each tee -- Every time you miss, add 1 point to your score, but you must make 3 in a row to move to the next tee -- Once you get around the Putting Square, move each tee 1 foot back and continue around -- After you complete the Putting Square from 4 feet, move each tee back another foot q You must make 3 in a row at each tee from 3 feet, 4 feet, and 5 feet, count your misses -- The scores below are the actual scores from golfers in their respective categories o PGA Tour Pro - 0 to 3 misses o Nationwide Tour (Buy.com Tour) Pro - 4 to 6 misses o College Player - 8 to 15 misses o 10 Handicap - 18 to 25 misses

If you want to improve your golf, if you want to play more consistent, you need to practice using practice techniques like the Tour Putting Square. At Hampton Golf Academy we use Practice Techniques for every part of your game.

If you are a 20 handicap, a competitive person and like to challenge yourself, you should see how we improve your scores by having you become tough in areas like your wedge game from 50 yards to the green and in. And the reason you can do this is because you will be learning how to practice better as you learn the proper techniques for your game.

If you want to become a better golfer, don't just practice your stroke (swing); use practice techniques to improve your game! As George Bernard Shaw stated - "Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."

PGA Professional Marc Solomon is the director of Golf Made Simple (www.Golfmadesimple.com). He has been named as a "Top 10 Instructor under 40 in America" and is regarded as the "Top Instructor in North Florida."

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • guidence

    Kishan wrote on: Nov 20, 2009

    my swing seems to be fine...but at times i screw up my short game and lose..and tips to make my short game better?


  • golf

    Somebody wrote on: Apr 21, 2009

    Im 14 yrs old and im a lefty.
    Im always sliceing the ball with my driver and i need help!!


  • Bad year..

    Somebody wrote on: Nov 9, 2008

    I was at a big tournament, leading after 17 holes with 8,9 shots. i came to the 18th hole..250 yard par 4, it looked kinda easy, but i had out of bounds to my left. Soo i was stupid enough to take the driver and try and drive and get me 20 yards from the green. Soo i pegged up and hit the ball out of bounds, soo i change to a Rescue and hit it out of bounds again. i hit it again, but this time i went on the fairway. i wont tell the whole story but i got out with 10 shots and lost by 1 shot..that was a total meltdown for me. Soo i am not playing good at the moment. If i just had been smart enough to pick a iron or something, i have been on the team i soo wanted to be. well i had the same thing twice this year.. I am just wondering what is it with me and the 18th holes. i can get the golf to work, but not the mental. Can you help me, or do you have an idea


  • help

    taylor wrote on: Mar 31, 2008

    im 16 and i need that one step to get to the next level of playing championship golf. any help?


      • RE: help

        Coach H.Turk Walker wrote on: May 9, 2008

        When you speak of the next level, You have to play in tournaments where the over all quality of play is greater then you are use to. There is a great number of junior tournaments throughout the country that will give you the higher competative compatition that you need to find out if you have the playing ability and emotional stability that it takes to play golf on what you call the next level. Good luck and good playing.


      • what step?

        Jonathan wrote on: Apr 30, 2008

        What step are you currently on?


  • I do not know what to do!

    Tori wrote on: Feb 9, 2008

    I am 11 years old. I gave up softball to do golf. My dad wants me to get better. But, instead of going forward I am going backward. I do not know what I am doing wrong. I do not know if my dad or myself will give up. All I want is to be better. But I am not. Do you have any tips? Thank you. Bye!


      • RE: I do not know what to do!

        the helper wrote on: May 29, 2009

        swing a softball bat look at the rotation do the same thing with a golf club but swing down you need to hit the ground. but just remember only you can help yourself im still learning how to play golf im only 13 and i can just drive the ball 200 yards thats bad for 13


      • RE: I do not know what to do!

        Jamie wrote on: Apr 20, 2009

        Golf is all about repetition! You have to constantly be working on your game to improve. You also have to be working on the proper things! Find what your weaknesses are and work your butt off to improve them, I guarantee you see lower scores!


      • RE: practice and patience

        Jonathan wrote on: Apr 30, 2008

        I don't remember reading this from KISS: Guide to playing golf or from Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf but the key is, practice with patience or patience in practice or practice and patience. Either way, they all mean pretty much the same. Good luck bro! Since you're only 11, perfect practice comes easy.


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