Types of Golf Practice
Ready to learn about golf practice? In the guide below you’ll learn how to structure your golf practice routine so you get the most benefit for the time invested practicing your golf game. From the driving range to the chipping and putting green, implement these tips to improve your golf practice effectiveness.
Let’s first start with the different variations of running a golf practice schedule.
For timed practice you set a certain number of minutes to complete a specific drill or skill. For example, you could allocate 30 minutes to putting practice and 30 minutes to chipping practice to make up a 1 hour practice session.
Reps & Sets
Reps & Sets are similar to workouts at the gym for fitness except at a golf course. You can hit 10 chip shots to complete 1 set, for example, or 100 putts to complete a set. You decide how many reps per drill and how many drills make up a skill set (putting, chipping, wedges, up&downs, etc.).
Keeping practice fun and light at the golf course can be attributed to mixing in different games you play either solo or with a partner. Games are often a great time to get the competitive juices flowing by competing with a friend or setting goals and benchmarks you must achieve to “pass” the game successfully and move on.
Along with practice on the driving range, chipping green, and putting green, you also should be spending practice time out on the golf course simulating real scenarios and working on your course management skills. Playing a round of golf teaches you a lot and the feedback also helps you practice smarter when you get back to the driving range or putting green.
Driving Range Practice Routine
The best part about having a driving range practice routine to follow is that it gives you structure so that you are practicing with PURPOSE! Swing instructor and golf pro’s would call this DELIBERATE golf practice.
7 Iron Sweep Drill:
When you first get to the range, the 7 iron should be the first golf club used to begin your driving range routine. For this drill you’re going to practice sweeping the ball of the tee to train your swing plane.
- Set up a golf ball on a tee about 3 inches off the ground
- Swing with a flatter swing trying to sweep the ball off the tee
- If the tee pops out of the ground or breaks you swung too steep
- The goal is to get the ball off the tee and the tee stays in the ground where it started
Driver Sweet Spot Swing Drill:
For the average amateur player, hitting the ball dead center on the driver face should be your main focus on every swing with your driver. Once you get that down then you can begin focusing on increasing swing speed, draws, fades, etc. But until then, keep your swing speed under control so that you’re hitting straighter shots with less back swing and power.
- Start with half swings hitting the ball center of the face
- The ball should go straight if done correctly
- Work your way up to a full swing, taking longer back swings
- Eventually get to the point where a full swing can strike center of the face, hitting longer straighter drives
Driver Fade Swing Drill:
The most popular golf swing of a beginner player is the SLICE. Sound familiar? And what do most beginners try to do? They run from it. They try everything in their power to get rid of the slice like strengthening their grip, shutting the face at address before starting the backswing, and other “counter” slice moves they read about online.
Instead, I want you to own your slice. We want to play the slice. However, we’re going to do our best to reduce it down to a less severe slice swing so that it becomes a normal fade golf shot that is under much more control.
When you intentionally try to hit a fade golf shot, you’ll notice your slice starts to go away and you play either a fade or draw/hook. Strange how it works isn’t it?
- Start with alignment. Find the straight path to your target and set up aligned straight at your target.
- Next, open up your stance slightly by pulling your lead foot back slightly so your toes are no longer on the stance line for your lead leg. Imagine a butcher chopping down with a blade on your stance line, cutting off the tips of your shoes. If you properly pull your lead foot back a few inches, only the rear foot will get its tip chopped off since that foot is still touching the target line.
- Take a neutral grip on your driver
- As you swing, take your backswing away to the inside and on the following through try to swing to the inside so that the club path follows your open stance.
Simulate Your Round of Golf on the Range:
If you’ve played the same golf course enough you should have a mental image of every shot you’ll face on the course. Take this to the driving range and play a simulated round.
Set up on the range to hit the first tee shot like you would on the golf course. Visualize the hole and where the fairway is, bunkers, trees, and other obstacles. Look back at your golf ball with the hole mapped out in your mind and visualizing the fairway of hole #1, then swing.
Look up and see where your ball is going on out into the driving range and map it out in your mind where you ended up on the golf course. Now play your next shot from there, selecting the iron you’d select out on the golf course if it were a real round.
Do this until you’ve completed the entire 9 or 18 holes. You can skip the putting. For iron shots at the green, find a green target on the range that is similar distance to the shot you envision in your simulated round.
Overall, it’s a fun way to practice and makes practice feel more real.
- You play a different club on every shot helping you work through your bag like you would on the course
- It focuses your mind as well as your swing
- Your pre-shot routine gets practiced still before every shot, adding 2-3 extra swings before hitting the real one
- You’ll notice an improvement of concentration and decision making out on the golf course
How to Make Faster Improvement to Your Golf Swing?
There are 4 main ways to improve your golf swing and the best thing you can do is a combination of all four so that results actually translate from the driving range to the golf course.
- Volume Golf Practice
- Games with Consequences
- Golf Course Practice with Multiple Balls
- Competitive Play
Volume Golf Practice
This is the area most amateur golfers put time into and then wonder why their swing doesn’t show up the same on the golf course. It’s because you need balance.
Volume practice is good as it can build muscle memory and consistency in your golf swing.
The goal is to hit the same shot over and over until you start to see results just like a basketball player would should the same jump shot over and over until he starts making more of them consistently.
A normal bucket of balls is 50-75 so break these up into sets of 10 and work on 5-7 different shots today. Then come back tomorrow and repeat those same 5-7 shots for 10 reps each and do this for a few weeks until you notice better consistency. Then pick a few new shots to add and pick a few to remove to fill out the 5-7 shot types.
Driving Range Games with Consequences
Another reason the golf swing on the driving range doesn’t show up on the golf course is that there are no consequences on the range. You swing with 100% peace of mind because you know if you screw up, you get to hit another range ball and try again.
Out on the golf course, stakes are higher as you only get the one shot to pull off so pressure creeps in and your tempo changes as you try to hard to force the perfect swing.
To help fix this, practice more frequently on the driving range by creating different games that test your skills and put pressure on yourself to perform well or else you face some sort of consequence.
Golf Course Practice with Multiple Balls
During your practice rounds, play serious as if it’s a real competitive round but also be intentional about dropping extra golf balls from different distances and shot types to practice your skills out on the golf course.
One example you can do is play your golf ball normally, but as you work your way from tee to green on each hole, drop an extra ball at the 200 marker, the 150 marker, and the 100 marker. This will get you 3 extra practice reps on the golf course per hole which adds up to over 50 extra practice swings from these yardages by the end of your 18 holes round.
Next round mix it up and work on wedges hitting extra balls from 40, 60, and 80 yards as your are walking your way in to the green to play your original golf ball.
The final piece to train your golf swing for faster improvement is to compete more often in golf tournaments or in money games with friends and clubhouse members. These competitive situations will put all your practice to the test and help you learn how to handle pressure.
How Much Practice Time Do Professional Golfers Put In?
Tiger Woods was spotted in a recent interview talking about how he looked forward to a day of rest after a final round Sunday at a PGA Tournament. He then followed that statement talking about how he looked forward to getting back to work on Tuesday where he would put in another usual 12 hour practice day.
While Tiger Woods is just one example of a golfer practice 10-12 hours each day, consistently, we also have heard countless other pro’s talk about the long hours they’d spend at a golf course working to perfect their game.
Practicing golf with a professional mindset takes a ton of self discipline. Putting in countless hours towards skill development on the range and practice greens as well as hours towards practice rounds on the golf course is no joke. Efficient and consistent golf practice is key.
You should aim to practice at a minimum of 40 hours per week just like a person would work at a full time job. If professional golf is going to be your full-time job, then treat it like one.
This could be split up as 6 days with 6 hours of practice and then a 4 hour practice round to cap off the week on Sunday. Or it could be 5 days (Mon-Fri) of 8 hour practice sessions. You decide based on your schedule and preference but expect 40 hours minimum each week.
Your “promotion”, like at a job, will be advancing lower in the handicap index and seeing your golf scores decrease from 90’s into the 80’s into the 70’s and finally into the 60’s consistently where you’ll have a scratch or better handicap rating needed to get into most qualifiers.
How to Be Efficient with Your Golf Practice Time
1. Practice the golf shots you use most
If you’ve played a lot of golf, you should have a good idea of the types of shots you face most. Think back on your golf rounds and analyze where you’re losing strokes (weaknesses) as well as what makes up most of your strokes; chipping, putting, shots inside 100 yards.
I broke down in a recent article how to allocate a two hour time window if that’s all you have to practice. Check out the tips in the article here.
2. Follow a Practice Plan
Instead of coming up with random practice every time you get to the golf course, take some time to map out a plan to follow for the next week or two at a time. We designed a 12 week practice plan you could follow as a template to help you get started and then you’ll know how to build your own golf practice routines and schedule after that.
3. Always Hit to a Target on the Driving Range and Green
The best way to make every rep count and feel like you’re improving the quality of your practice sessions is to pick targets to attack.
On the driving range locate different distance targets to align yourself at and work on hitting full swings and half swings to these targets keeping track of distance control in addition to hitting it straight at them.
On the putting green find targets on the green surface to aim your putt at to help it start on the right line before the break takes over. With chip shots find target spots on the green surface to try and land the ball on and then see how closely you can achieve distance control with your wedges and actually hit the target spot.
One drill for this is to lay down a small towel and practice hitting chips that land on the towel as target practice for chipping distance control.
This will give you much better quality with each practice rep as opposed to blindly hitting balls down the middle of the range or randomly putting around to different holes without much thought and concentration.
4. Keep Things Changing Constantly
Random golf practice is a great way to move your results from the practice area out onto the golf course. During a live golf round you never hit the same shot twice. You’ll face many different distances and from many different lies and angles to the green.
Make your practice sessions random, mixing things up like you’ll face on the golf course rather than hitting the same shot over and over until it’s perfect. There’s a time and place for volume practice but random practice helps you get better at adjusting.
The best way to practice with intention, known as “Deliberate Practice” is to follow a plan or a routine and not stray away from it. This is similar to a fitness person who wants to add muscle and must therefore follow a training plan for a period of weeks to see muscle growth and strength gains at the gym.
Same goes for the golf course. We designed the deliberate golf practice plans you can follow to make your practice have structure and utilize the time at the golf course effectively. Check them out here:
- All Access: Download Every Plan We Create (Lifetime Membership)
- How to Break 70 Golf Practice Plan
- How to Break 80 Golf Practice Plan
- How to Break 90 Golf Practice Plan
- The Bundle: Access to All 3 Practice Plans
- Short Game Practice Plan
- Indoor Golf Training Plan
- How to Coach High School Golf eBook