Top Golf Practice Tips

By Steve Silverman

It's hard to think about practice when you are in the middle of golf season. You may play two or three times a week, and it seems like one round blends into another. However, playing regularly should not preclude practice, it should encourage it. Even if you are an active player, you should make it to the driving range at least once a week, and you can also practice in your backyard (pitching) and even in your living room (putting).

Accuracy on the Range

Don't just go to the driving range to work on hitting your driver a long distance. That may bring you attention from the neighbors in the next stalls, but your main job is to work on your accuracy. Start with your 5-iron and go from left to right. Hit five shots to your left side, five to left center, five to center, five to right center and five to the right. By spreading the shots around, you are giving your muscles a chance to feel more comfortable when changing directions on your shots.

Pitching Consistency

You can work on your pitch shots at the range or even in your back yard---as long as it's big enough and you have understanding neighbors. At the driving range, most people will immediately start hitting the ball for distance using their driver or their fairway woods. However, your ability to pitch the ball to the green will have more to do with how you score than your distance off the tee. Instead, work on hand positioning, body lean, back swing and follow through when pitching to the green at the practice range. Try to hit 9-of-10 pitches on the green, which should be about 100 yards away from the practice tee.

Putting Drill

Practice putting before every round you are planning to play. You can always putt at the practice green before you play and the practice green should give you an idea of what the greens are like on that particular day. It also gives you the chance to warm up before your round begins.
You can also practice at home with an automatic ball return that allows you to putt into one of five slots on the machine. The ball will be sent back to you, and you can continue your putting exercise without interruption. If you don't have this item, you can always take a tall drinking glass, turn it on its side and putt for the opening. It should help keep your putting stroke on track.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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