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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."

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