Practice Day #1: Journey to Scratch Golf

Welcome to the first official practice session of the season. Up to this point I have played 54 holes over 4 different days (2 sets of 9 and 2 sets of 18).

I was able to gather data from these first 54 holes to see where my golf skills are at currently as we begin the 2017 golf season. You could call it the pre-season skill assessment.

Through 54 Holes here are my skill assessment statistics:

  • Fairways in Regulation = 18/42 (43% success rate)
  • Greens in Regulation = 18/54 (33% success rate)
  • Scrambling = 3/32 (9% success rate)
  • Putts Per Round Avg = 34
  • 3 Putts = 1
  • Birdies = 0
  • Pars = 21
  • Bogeys = 29
  • Double Bogeys = 3
  • Triple Bogeys = 1
  • Average Score = 85 (+13 over par)

Alright, let’s take a few sentences to sum up my pre-season golf skills assessment from the 54 holes before we move on to Day #1 of Practice as I work to get back to scratch golf and follow the Breaking 70 Golf Practice Program.

For starters, I am hitting fairways 43% of the time which is okay but not great. Ideally, I’d like to be closer to 60% by the time we retest 12 weeks from now. Here is a chart showing you Fairways by Handicap according to TheGrint.com

fairways-in-regulation-stat

Greens in regulation is only at 33% which means I’m averaging 6 greens per 18 holes. This leaves me 12 holes where I have to use my short game skills to scramble and get up & down for par. However, my scrambling has been terrible.

I’ve successfully got up and down for par just 3 times out of 32 chances. I mentioned in my Golf Round Analysis posts that I would definitely be putting the most focus into my chipping skills at first. You’ll see the results later in this post from today’s practice session.

Golf Practice Session #1 Recap:

Heading into practice today, my main focus was short game. I didn’t have the full 4 hours to dedicate to the practice session due to the Master’s coming on and my desire to make it home to watch it. I ended up completing just the short game section of the practice plan in 2 and a half hours, leaving the 60-90 minute driving range practice for another day.

What Practice Plan I’m Following to Improve Quickly:

I’m following the Breaking 70 Golf Practice Program, which I created with my brother a few years back when we both were scratch golfers. He still is a scratch golfer and currently plays golf at the college level. I ended up taking time off from golf the past few years and my skills have worsened hence this blog series detailing my Journey to Scratch Golf.

The practice program gives you 12 practice routines, one for each of the 12 weeks this program runs. You are to complete each practice routine 3x during the week. The golf practice routines take 4-5 hours to complete which is long but necessary if you want to be a scratch golfer.

The short game section can take between 2-3 hours and the driving range section can take 60-90 minutes. Today I got through the short game section in about 2 and a half hours. This is pretty normal for how long I work on short game during a practice session.

In high school we used to practice 3:30pm to 8pm every night after school and on weekends we’d spend 6-8 hours at the golf course. The large majority of the practice time was working on short game skills (putting, chipping, pitching, bunkers, etc.) and very little time actually playing out on the golf course.

Short game is what will take you to that next level and see lower golf scores. Reaching scratch golf in high school took lots of practice time and repetitions to improve and this is exactly why I made the practice routines similar to what we did in high school.

Now like I said, you’re probably thinking about how 4 to 5 hours of practice may not be practical for your schedule.

You can do what I did today and break up the practice plan, completing part of it today, and the rest another day. If you can’t complete all 3 practice sessions in the same week, no worries they can be spaced out. But don’t move on to the second week’s practice routine until you’ve done Week #1 all 3 times.

Today’s Practice Summary:

I started out by completing the scrambling drills of Day 1’s Practice Plan. I took along my binder which has all the worksheets printed out for me to track my results for each practice drill.

I completed 25 up and downs to a hole about 15 feet away from the fringe and it took me only 30 attempts (83% success rate). Then I moved to a further away hole that left me 25 feet to 30 feet. I completed the 25 up and downs in 36 attempts (69%).

Chipping was the next section I worked on from the practice plan worksheet. I had to complete 200 chip shots to various distance holes and count how many reps I got within 3 feet of the hole. Closer distance holes I converted nearly 70% of the shots to within 3 feet of the hole. Further away holes, I converted just 40% of the reps within 3 feet.

It was quite frustrating having inconsistent chip shots and not getting many within 3 feet like I use to be able to but that’s part of the process to improve my chipping skills. I have a vision than in 12 weeks from now, I’ll be a much better player with the wedges and nestling more shots close to the hole for easy one putts.

Lastly, I finished up by spending 75-90 minutes completing the putting drills section. Since it was Day 1, the plan calls for working on short putts from 2 feet and 3 feet to get the basic putting stroke down and see the ball going in the hole. Over the next several weeks, the practice drills will extend my range out further and further to where I’m sinking 6 to 10 foot putts on a regular basis like a scratch golfer should.

After completing the short putting drills, I completed lag putts from 20 feet and 30 feet working on speed control. I was successful at lag putting from 20 feet 90% of the time. This means 9/10 putts I could get within a few feet of the hole leaving me a short putt to finish the hole off.

From 30 feet I was successful 88% of the time. In the future weeks, lag putts will get further away from the hole and I’ll be building my long distance putting skills from 40 feet to 80 feet away. How many 80 foot putts do you think you could successfully roll to within a foot of the cup? It’s a far putt to try and successfully lag to the hole.

Before you leave the golf course each day, the Breaking 70 Practice Plan has a bonus section called Extra Credit. These are extra drills and reps if you have the time to do them, giving your skills an extra boost and speeding up your improvement timeline. Since I was trying to get home to see the Masters, I skipped the extra credit for today. Ha. I will make it up though another day (:

Concluding Thoughts:

Today was the first blog post in the Journey to Scratch Golf Series where I gave a recap of my practice session. The previous posts have been golf round analysis posts or scratch golf lessons for beginners. Moving forward, I will decide the format of these posts and how I want to write them so it may change. My goal is to bring the most value possible to you while detailing out my experiences and journey.

If you want straight forward lessons, find the Instruction tab on our website and pick out which areas of the game you want to read about. We’ve categorized articles for your convenience.

Thanks for reading and following my progress. I hope to inspire you that it’s possible to make major improvements to your golf game regardless of what your handicap is currently. If you have dreams of breaking 90, breaking 80, or breaking 70, then consider checking out our 3 different practice programs we’ve built for beginners.

Here are several golf practice plans we offer with lots of worksheets and bonuses that come with your program. Click the links to learn more about each training plan.

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