Should I Practice Or Play Golf More To Improve
Golf seems to be the perfect escape from all the Corona Virus madness of 2020 and it has become the social distancing sport and hobby that many are turning to but with an increased desire among many to improve at the game, we need to look at what is the best way to get better.
The great debate to about whether you need to practice or play golf more to improve is sure to rage on into the future but our take on the matter is that all golfers will need to incorporate an element of both into maximizing their improvement at the game. While playing golf is going to be much better for improving overall, you also spent a lot more time between hitting each ball but it is obviously a more realistic way to improve. The driving range allows for much quicker repetitions but you are going to have a perfect lie all the time which is not realistic and we also need to consider that most of our shots on the course are going to be putts so we better not forget about the putting green.
The Case For Practicing To Get Better
They say to become a master at anything, you need to practice for 10,000 hours and practicing at the driving range can allow you to get a lot more hours of constant practice. Repetition is the key to learning, so it obviously makes sense that practicing at the range is a great way to get better.
Build Your Rhythm And Perfect Your Technique
If you set off with the wrong technique in your swing, you may be able to get to a decent handicap but there will come a time when swinging the club the wrong way will lead to a plateau in your game and halt your progress in it’s tracks.
The best thing to do is to correct your swing technique as quickly as possible and there are more ways to do this no more than ever.
You can simply get some lessons from the pro at your local club or you can even record your swings and get feedback from professionals online.
Either way, the best thing to do is to get your swing right as quickly as you can to maximize your potential.
Practicing At Home
Practicing at home is a good way to improve your game also and get those hours of repetition in. All you need is a golf hitting or a decent home putting green and you can practice almost every aspect of the game in the comfort of your living room or back garden.
One of the biggest problems you are going to run into when practicing at home is that you don’t know if you are hitting a good shot into a net or not and that is where technology comes into play
With the recent advent of personal launch monitors we can tell key characteristics of each shot we play like ball speed, launch angle, carry distance and roll. We can also take this another step further by bringing in the Golf Simulator into the mix.
Golf simulators need not cost you an arm and a leg these days, plenty of devices like the Skytrak, Optishot 2, Phigolf and now the Mevo plus can simulate your shot on a screen or monitor and you can play virtual rounds in your home.
One of the key issues with these simulators is that the putting is not that good and again that is half of your strokes.
Key Tips For Practice
Don’t Overuse The Driver
Everyone wants to be more accurate and longer with their driver than other clubs but the fact of the matter is you don’t even have to drive on every hole and while it is important, it is not the be all and end all of golf.
Some beginners even chose to use a 3 wood off the tee instead of the driver and if that is something that works out better for you than we would advice you to go for it.
Going through the entire range of clubs at the range is key to improving at all aspects of the game.
Don’t Forget The Putting Green
Most good driving ranges will have a putting green and it makes sense not to neglect this as part of your practice. Putting is going to account for at least half of your shots so the more practice you can get here the better.
There are plenty of putting drills you can use to add a little pressure and increase the stakes.
The Case For Playing To Get Better
The old phrase, there is nothing like the real thing, comes into play here and improving on the course is surely going to be our ultimate goal.
We may have been practicing so much to put in a good performance when we play with our friends and if we don’t play well, it may feel like all that practice was for nothing.
The main difference between practice and playing is that you need to follow your ball by walking or in a cart and there is a much bigger time gap between shots.
The truth of the matter is, no matter how realistic you make the conditions of a practice round, there is nothing like the real thing when it comes to golf.
When you play a golf course, you are not just hitting the ball towards and inanimate object or trying to blast the ball straight with no repercussions when you hit a wayward shot.
On the course, every shot counts, you need to get your aim right and you need to hit the ball the correct distance.
You can be aggressive or cautious with your layups and approach shots and there is no substitute for the differences in slopes and angles you will find on the different greens.
Practicing off a perfect lie on a mat all the time is good for repetition but it is nothing like the variation you will get on the course, hitting from the rough, light rough, fairway or if you anything like, from the trees.
You also aren’t going to encounter bunkers in practice unless you driving range has one and all of this makes for much better practice to improve.
Playing By Yourself
Playing by yourself is a great option for getting better if you have a course near by that you can visit early on a Saturday or during the week when it is quiet so you can practice by yourself.
Most people will play better golf alone because the pressure is off it’s a great opportunity to play the same shot with a couple of balls to get more practice in areas where you maybe struggle and to build your confidence.
Quicken The Pace
If you can rent a ride on golf cart at your course, you can minimize the time between shots and the overall time the round takes considerable, especially if you are on your own or as part of a two ball.
Using an ride on cart can literally cut the time of a round in half, ensure, you don’t get fatigued or lose concentration and play better golf overall.
Golf technology has become a lot more affordable nowadays and the biggest advantage it gives you is to know the distance you are hitting each club and take the guess work out of deciding which club to hit.
You can get a personal handheld device, golf gps watch or even a rangefinder to determine you distance to the pin and discovering how far I hit each club allow me to improve at the game much more quickly.
Pros And Cons Of Practicing For Improvement
It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert and the driving range allows you to get those hours more quickly than on the course.
Correct Your Technique Early
Get a lesson or record your swings to allow and expert to set you off on the right track.
Most of us play golf because we enjoy it and we also enjoy going to the range and hitting 100 balls a couple of times per week.
A trip the the course can be pricey but a trip to the driving range is likely to cost less than $10 and there is usually free parking to boot.
You can spend 30 minutes or an hour at the range but on a course, you are usually locked in for at least 9 holes
Organizing a tee time and setting a time that suits everyone is going to be a lot more difficult as than a quick spin to the driving or even practicing at home
Not As Realistic
Hitting off a perfect mat all the time is’nt as realistic as the variety you will find on the course
Can Get Boring
Hitting balls one after the other can get boring quite quickly and 30 minutes on the range might be enough for some.
The Law Of Diminishing Returns
The more we practice the less improvement we will see with each stroke and while it will still be a key area of improvement to marginal increases in performance from practice will decrease over time.
Pros And Cons Of Playing Golf
With course management, hitting difficult shots and a host of different lies and hazards, playing golf on the course is the ultimate way to improve at the game.
More than half our strokes are going to be putts and there is no amount of practice that can prepare us for all the different slopes, and green speeds we will see on real courses.
There is a social and competitive aspect to playing with a friend or in a group and it can be a lot more fun to have a round of golf than hitting the driving range.
Anybody can hit a good shot at the range but when the pressure is on to make a birdie, it is a different kettle of fish. This pressure is key to improving at the game.
If you are walking around the course, you are going to be chasing your ball around over 6 miles and while it is good exercise it means less repetition.
A round of golf can be expensive and if you are a member, you are likely to want to play as much as possible but if you aren’t you will need to fork out green fees for every round.
You also need to book a tee time and it may not be possible to get a time that suits and you will also have to block out a few hours to make sure you are getting your monies worth over the 18 holes.
While playing golf is much better for improving it may only be possible to get out once per week and most of us will want to play a bit more than if we are serious about improving and the real question comes down to what balance of playing and practice is going to be ideal for us to maximize our potential and get our handicap as low as possible and for me that might be 1 or 2 rounds per week and 1 or 2 practice sessions, but everybody will be different.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!