How Often Do I Need To Practice At Golf To Really Improve
If you are new to golf and have taken a shine to the game, I would firstly like to congratulate you and secondly, let you know that you have joined a large group of golfers who are on a never ending quest to improve their game and knock shots off their total score.
“It’s a journey, not a destination.”
The first thing you need to realise is that you will probably never be completely satisfied with your golf game but we also understand you may need to get to a level as quickly as possible where you can approach the first tee box comfortably without worrying about hitting a daisy cutter with everybody watching on in horror and we got you here at Southampton.
We would say you need to be getting a solid practice session in at least two times per week to see any real improvement quickly but don’t be afraid to crank that up to 4-5 times per week if you have the time and facilities to do so. The truth of the matter is that the more time you spend with a club in your hand, the more confident and capable you will become. The three main ways we can improve are by playing actual rounds of golf, on the driving range or with golf lessons and we recommend you take advantage of all three.
Consistency Is Key – More Practice For More Improvement
Luckily for us, golf is not that difficult in theory, we are just hitting a ball with a golf club and even if we score terribly, we can still find our way around the course even if we are 20 or 30 over.
When we play a round we will usually find a way to improve and will feel a lot better about how we will perform the next time we play by the end but if we don’t pick up the clubs at all for the next month or two before playing again, a lot of that improvement will be lost.
The more consistently we can pick up the clubs and practice, the better we will get and the more quickly. Consistency is the key ingredient to improving at anything in life.
Get Your Swing Technique Off On The Right Foot With Golf Lessons
Correcting mistakes in our golf swing as quickly as possible so we are practicing with something that will allow us to get closer to our potential is something we would do as quickly as possible.
Golf lessons are usually affordable and you can buy them in packs so that is where we would start. Try getting a golf lesson once or twice a week to get you moving along on the right foot and then you will be using much better technique when you move onto the rest of your practice.
The most important things you can get from your lessons is to get the swing technique improved as much as possible and to correct any hooks or slices from your game and if you can do that, you will be on a very solid path toward improvement.
Also remember that golf is very much a mental game and by getting around a professional, it can also have a big boost for your confidence and attitude towards improving.
The Driving Range Is The Place To Be When You Can’t Make The Course
The driving range is where most golfers go to improve their game and we would recommend finding one where you are hitting off real grass as opposed to hitting mats if possible for a more realistic experience.
The driving range has the advantage of constant practice with out having to walk after your ball every time you hit it like on a round of golf so you get a lot more shots in, in a lot less time so try to make every one count.
Focus On Accuracy Not Power
It can be easy to try blasting your driver for distance constantly on the driving range and not focussing on accuracy but that is counter intuitive.
Getting the ball to fly straight is much more important than getting it to fly far.
Keep your eye on the ball, turn your hips into the swing and don’t try to send the ball into orbit.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field and playing golf is no different. The more you play, the better you will get but as time goes on these improvements may become barely noticeable until you see your rounds improving slowly over time.
Putting is 50% of the game but it is often overlooked by amateurs and improvers alike. With that being said, you should be spending about 50% of time on the putting green at the driving range. This is probably the place where you can shave shots off your score most easily to don’t forget to put an emphasis on your short game.
Just the feeling of having the putter in you hand and stroking the ball will build up your muscle memory and increase your confidence.
Once you start knocking in longer putts and shorter putts consistently, your short game will become a major thorn in the side for anyone you are playing against.
Knowing Your Distances Is Key
When I started getting a lot better at golf as a teenager, I would weigh up every distance by eye and just guess what club to hit based on gut feeling. This resulted in playing it safe too often and coming up short of the green consistently on my approach shots.
Luckily for you, if you are trying to improve your golf in the modern age, technology can play a crucial role.
If you know how far you hit each club and you know how far you need to hit your next shot, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the game and allows you to take a full swing with confidence every time you approach the ball without having to worry about under shooting and playing too cautiously.
A personal launch monitor can do the job in knowing how far you are hitting each club or you can let the professional during your lessons know that you need to find out how far you are hitting each club and he can help you.
Out on the course there are tons of GPS devices, watches and even free apps on your phone that will give the distance to any point on the course from where you are standing and these need not set you back a fortune.
One device that combines a launch monitor and a GPS device is the Garmin G80 which might be worth checking out if you have the budget to spare.
Time On The Course
While every other form of practice serves an important function, there is no substitute for actually time spent navigating the course.
From the undeniable pressure of the first tee shot to hitting out of the impossible rough. From the shots you absolutely nail to tee shots that end up in the water, if we want to get better at golf playing on an actual course as often as possible is the absolute best way to do it.
If you can combine all of your other practice with at least one round of golf per week, you will be on the fast track to reaching your potential and improving your game as quickly as possible.
If you can play different courses, all the better and if you can get out 2-3 times per week, these can replace you driving range sessions.
Keep track of you score and measure your improvement over time as well. If you are free during the week and no one else is around, don’t be afraid to play by yourself.
Practicing At Home
If you don’t live close to a driving range or a golf course and can only make it there once or twice a week, we can also turn our home into a driving range with a hitting net and a putting mat.
The quality of these will very with the price, so try to get something as effective and realistic as possible.
Improving at golf is all about getting the hours in and there are even home golf simulators now that are affordable for average golfers and can turn your living room into a virtual golf course.
These simulators include accurate launch monitors that will show where every shot you hit will end up on your laptop or a projector.
The Skytrak and Mevo Plus will cost about $2,000 but the Optishot2 is available for a couple of hundred and it is surprisingly accurate and a ton of fun to use.
Simulators are perfect for practicing through the winter as well when it may have gotten too cold, wet and windy to play real golf or hit the range as often.
Getting Your Equipment Right
As your swing improves and you get more comfortable on the course, it might be time to get a set of clubs that will compliment your style of play perfectly, if you don’t have them already.
Knowing your swing speed will determine what composition of clubs you need such as graphite or steel shafts in your irons but one constant for beginners and those looking to improve should be big, oversized club heads that are as forgiving as possible.
If you go for a fitting at your club shop, they should be able to sort you out with the best possible clubs for your game or you can buy a standard set for beginners from Amazon that should do the job pretty well.
We recommend the Callaway Strata, Wilson Profile Platinum and the Cobra XL golf club sets as our favourites on the market right now so make sure to check them out if you are looking for a quality set.
It’s All In Your Head
“Golf is 90% mental and only 10% physical” – Jack Nicklaus
Since golf so heavily depends on the mental aspect, there are plenty of mental tricks we can use to improve at the game more quickly.
The most successful people on earth all state that they have visualized their success vividly before they actually accomplished exactly what they were thinking about.
Visualize yourself hitting those long and straight drives, sinking long and short putts with ease and pitching within inches of the pin.
Visualize it and accept that it can become your reality and don’t accept anything less. Raise your standards and treat bad performance as something that does not belong in your world and you will quickly become more like your thoughts. Visualizing success is a crucial aspect of the game.
Measure Your Score And Set SMART Goals
Keeping your score on the golf course is the best way to measure your improvement over time and you should set you goals based around improving your score.
Don’t set your goals around hitting your driver 400 yards like Bryson DeChambeau because that is not going to improve you score like hitting the ball straight consistently will.
“Driving for show, Putting for dough.”
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time constraint.
If you are brand new to the course, set a goal of breaking 100 hundred within 2 months for example, identify your weak points and strengthen your game to shave shots off.
When you reach this goal, aim for 90 and set actionable steps to get there. Keep going with consistent practice and SMART goals and you are sure to improve.
We are not saying everybody can become a Tiger Woods but it is all about hitting the maximum potential that is possible for us.
Consistently picking up the clubs and practicing is a guaranteed way to improve and getting lessons from a professional can really speed up the process.
Be patient and enjoy the process. Remember it is a journey, not a destination and improving at golf is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life.