Here are my thoughts on practice. You can improve your ball striking, chipping and putting by practicing, but the only way to improve your game is to play. Some people enjoy practice, sometimes to the extent that they would rather practice than play. Others don’t practice much because they would rather use the time they have to play the game. Let’s face it, if you want to improve you are going to have to do both. It has been written that it takes 10 years and thousands of hours of practice and playing time to become a touring professional. Average golfers don’t have that kind of time, so it is essential that if they want to improve they need to practice with a purpose every time they go to the range.
Beginners are going to have a different set of goals than more experienced players when it comes to practice. To keep practice fun and productive, have a plan before you go to the range. Do some stretching first and then warm up with the club that you feel the most comfortable with. The reason is that if you start with a club that you have less confidence in and it does not go well, the rest of your practice session may not either.
The goals for the beginner in those first practice sessions should be to work on what was learned in their lessons and to begin to determine how far they can hit each club. Improving on accuracy and consistency is going to take a while, but having to select a club for each shot is going to be required the very first time you play. Allocate at least half your allotted time to the short game. More experienced players know that a good short game improves scores significantly and therefore devote more time to that part of the game.
A more experienced player is going to have a different set of goals when they practice. First, on days where you have some time, decide what and how you are going to practice before you get to the range. Include time for working on your strengths along with your weaknesses. Visualize every shot before swinging. Try different shots similar to those that you might encounter on the golf course. Every shot on the golf course results in a consequence. Rotate your clubs every 5 to 10 shots and always aim at a target. Utilize practice swings and make sure to work on your pre-shot-routine. In other words, the more you practice things that you might encounter in an actual round of golf the more comfortable you are going to be when you do play.
Another idea is to simulate playing each hole on the course that you are about to play in the next day or two. This is a great way to prepare for that next round of golf. By doing the above you may be able to avoid being one of those players that complains that they can never hit the ball as good on the course as they do on the range.