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Practicing your golf game will only pay dividends if you know how and what you are practicing.
Practicing your golf game will only pay dividends if you know how and what you are practicing. (.)

Put purpose in your golf practice

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor

In order to practice your golf game we must first know how to practice. There are two basic types of practice.

1. Mechanical Practice
2. Playing Practice

A majority of players think that practice is beating golf balls. Wrong, that is just hitting balls. There must be a purpose for improvement. In reality if you're working on something in your swing then "you must work on this correctly even if you miss the ball, until you don't miss it anymore! There is no acceptable alternative," as Homer Kelley said.

Here are some ideas for you to think about the next time you go out to mechanical practice.

Always lay down a reference line for alignment.

Use an 8 or 7 iron to train with, even if you're having trouble with the driver. These clubs are easier to engrain a "feeling" or mechanical imperative than the driver.

Verify your fundamentals, grip, aim, alignment, posture, ball position, plane angle, etc.

Start by loosing up with a sand wedge - it's the heaviest club in the bag - and hitting little chip shots, then move into small pitch shots. This builds a strong foundation for learning the proper impact alignments.

Focus on whatever it is that you are trying to improve on mechanically. Do drills to help enforce this change.

Every half hour put down the clubs and take a break. Alternate between the long game and the short game. Remember, as your chipping gets better your pitching gets better and then your full swing gets better.

Set realistic goals and time frames to achieve them. If you want to win the Club Championship but have a 15 handicap then give yourself time to work on the things that will get you there. For instance, if you putt well but pitch poorly, then spend more time pitching and less time putting.

When it's time to play forget mechanics and focus on the target. You must learn to separate playing from practice.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
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    marc wrote on: Nov 20, 2009

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