Practice For Performance

By Chris Foley

Golf is one of the few games, that is not practiced on the actual field of play. Games like football, basketball, tennis, and hockey are all practiced on the court, rink or field where the game is actually played. Unfortunately, in golf, 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 a great performance on the golf course.

This golf season in each issue of Tee Times, we will present a practice plan, drill, or game that is designed to help you create a great practice situation and help you practice for performance.

Practicing for performance must include the following elements.
1. The drill, game, or exercise needs to create awareness and be engaging. Things like changing targets frequently, creating different sensations or feels, and pushing you out of your comfort zone.
2. The practice needs to be measurable. When we measure our practice, it gives us a true gauge of how we are doing. From day to day we can track improvement or regression.
3. There needs to be consequence in practice. We need to compete while we practice. This is what truly bridges the gap between the range and the golf course. The practice experience needs to be closer to the actual golf course experience.

While there is still snow on the ground for most of us, this month we are going to give you a putting exercise that can be done inside. Do this exercise four or five times a week over the next month and you will start the golf season putting like a tour player!

If you have a putting matt, divide into thirds. For instance if the matt is 10 feet, mark a spot at three feet, six feet and nine feet. You can do the same thing if you are simply putting on the carpet or an actual putting green.

Level one of the exercise is to make three putts in a row from each three, six, and nine feet. If you miss, you have to start over from three feet. After you make the nine putts from the three distances, making one putt from each distance to complete level one.

Level two is to make four putts in a row from each distance. Again, you must make all 12 putts in a row. Complete level two by making one putt from each distance two times in a row.

Level three is to make five putts in a row from each distance. Following making the 16 putts in a row, complete level three by making one putt from each distance three times in a row.

Limit this exercise to 30 minutes. As a benchmark, keep track of how many levels you complete in the 30 minutes or how long it takes to complete all levels.

To add an element of competition, putt with a partner and see who can complete each level first.

Investing some time in this exercise over the next 30-45 days will have a significant impact on you putting and lowering your scores.

I welcome your feedback and questions. Please contact me at, 218-802-9426. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisFoleyGolf and look for more great practice tips on #PracticeForPerformance Thursdays.

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