Give Your Game A Grade

By Chris Foley

If you have read this column over the past two years, you will remember that we have focused on ways to practice your golf game to optimize performance on the golf course. This practice is focused not as much on the mechanics of the swing, but on creating more golf course like situations. Golf is one of the few games, that is not practiced on the actual field of play. The majority of our practice occurs at a driving range. Most of the time the driving range has no resemblance to the golf course. This environment typically doesn’t lead to great performance on the golf course.

While a percentage of your time should be devoted to the mechanics of you swing, the majority of our practice time should be devoted to practicing game like situations.

For the majority of us, cold temperatures and snow prevent us from being able to practice much this time of year. It is a great time, however, to evaluate where your game is at and create your plan for improving this season.

When evaluating your game, focus on the following areas; equipment, physical fitness, driving the ball, the long game, wedge play and putting. Each of these areas of your game can have a significant impact on scoring. As you think about each aspect grade yourself with a score from 1 to 5 with 1 being poor and 5 outstanding.

As you create your plan, place the biggest emphasis on the areas that received the lowest grades. Improvement in these areas will be the easiest way to make an impact on your game. In your weakest areas, time should be devoted both to working on technique and practicing for performance.

I want to offer you a word of caution regarding practicing only technique. When you are only practicing technique, as we begin to find our rhythm and timing, we start hitting consistently good shots. It is very easy to develop a false sense of competence. In the one shot environment of the golf course the competency that we thought we developed on the practice tee is harder to find. If we don’t have perfect timing we are right back to struggling. This is why practicing for performance is critical to playing better golf.

As the season goes on what you will learn more about is forms of practice in this column. If you use the games, drills, and plans we will write about your practice will be more fun and your scores will be lower.

I welcome your feedback and questions. Please contact me at, 218-820-9426. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisFoleyGolf and look for more great practice tips on #PracticeForPerformance Thursdays.

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