By Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA
2014 PGA National Teacher of the Year
Think about the last time you went to the driving range. Did you adhere to your typical practice routine? If you are new to the game or practice, you are likely working on your golf basics and inevitably becoming accustomed to one particular golf club. If you’ve been practicing your game for a few years, you’ve likely developed some of your own routines. And at this stage of golf game development, you’ve very possibly grooved your swing by hitting a bunch of golf balls with a selected club until you achieved a desired outcome. If you are a seasoned player, your practice may have developed into a more extreme routine; perhaps starting with wedges, working your way through your irons, and then moving onto the hybrids, fairway clubs, and finally; the driver.
These described patterns are typical of person’s golf practice development. And this practice style can ultimately stifle the way we learn. It can also prove to be ineffective for progression and personal skill development. “Golf thinking” should be applied to practice in the same way we work on our real games.
Repetition, after a while, tends to make us less excited, less engaged, or even unreceptive to learning. That 15th consecutive iron shot felt pretty good, yet, are we learning as effectively as we can? In a real game of golf, hitting consecutive shots with the same iron is not realistic. Nor is it productive. In today’s world of rapid changes and adaptation, the processing of new information happens more quickly. Thus, we need to keep our senses stimulated and challenged by fresh and new activities and practice.
Here are a couple of examples to practice to stimulate your learning and wake up your senses. Do you lose energy during your practice and end with a mediocre shot using your driver by the time your bucket of balls is finished? Try reversing the order. With a good warm up with Golf Verified Training Aids and after stretching a little more than usual; start with your driver as the first club, then move onto longer fairway clubs, followed by longer irons, down to the wedge. The intention, here, is to sustain energy. You will have more energy for the driver at the beginning and perhaps less energy at the end of the bucket. A little short game to end a great practice session will be perfect for your energy level.
Alternatively, try incorporating an irregular practice period into your regimen, where your mental game has to constantly adapt. By doing this, you are forced to be more engaged with the game itself. The goal, here, is to work on your system of playing, rather than just hitting the ball. Each shot should be hit with a different club, requiring you to adapt to your golf clubs, set-up, and approach for each golf ball addressed. This is how we play golf in the first place.
The next time you practice, remember to change golf clubs often, play The Driving Range Game, or switch the order of your clubs in order to conserve energy. These suggestions should encourage more engaged learning, improve your preparation for the real game, and, most importantly, improve your Golf Results, Now.