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Coaching tips on how to practice golf shots to see improvement

For those people who know me well, they understand I am driven and I really don’t like to lose or not be successful at any endeavor I undertake. I took up golf only three years ago, but it is no exception. I realized very quickly that there was more to it than just swinging a club and hitting the ball. Upon the very wise advice from Amanda, I took lessons and began to see some improvement. As a coach myself, I understand the value of practice and continued effort. I found heading to the driving range and hitting was very effective in letting me learn to hit off a mat and after 3-4 attempts I can generally solve an errant hit or a slice/hook. But then when I play I didn’t get the second or third attempt and I was more and more frustrated.

I mentioned going out early and playing a 9 hole course near my house before work. I took this route for two reasons. Generally, there isn’t a lot of people playing on weekday mornings really early, which gives me flexibility, and it also started my day off with some activity. I realized that for me to learn how to play and improve I needed the experience of learning how to hit great shots, but more importantly how to hit and recover from really horrid shots. So I began by playing two balls for each hole. Which meant a lot more walking and I had to be aware that no one was behind me. By always hitting two balls, I had an opportunity to have a really great shot, and then try to follow that up off the tee with a second and replicate what I did well, or to recover from an errant drive to see if I could make small changes and remember them from shot to shot.

It really helped me learn how to hit the ball in several less than ideal situations, slops, downhill, uphill from the edge of a water hazard, and out of the rough (where I spend most of my time anyway). What I found was I grew in confidence and started to enjoy the game even when I wasn’t playing well or hitting particularly well because I knew I always had two attempts to make the shot. By playing two balls, and making sure that I really moved between hits I also got pretty great workouts. By the end of 9 holes I found that I typically would walk just over five miles (on a great day) and sometimes as much as six and a half (probably more often in this range).

I used a free app on my phone to score one ball and the card to score the other and then I would go back in and enter the second ball’s score – it gave me a better idea of how I was playing and what my level really was without trying to account for a mulligan. If you are curious, I use SwingU. I don’t get any endorsement from them, but in searching apps for an iPhone, it was the most complete app. It allowed syncing with an apple watch and it provides some basic GPS all in the free version. The upgraded version is generally $49.99 a year and it allows you to track shot distances as well as penalties. The basic free version allows for scoring, free GPS of all the courses in my area, and tracks the number of putts so it works great for me.

Personally I really believe the additional practice and has allowed me to make drastic improvements in my swing, hitting, and recovery when I play. Good luck and hit them straight!

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