Practice Like Arnold Did

By Chris Foley

In each issue of Tee Times, we 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 gage 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.

With the passing of Arnold Palmer, I wanted to share a story that my friend Brad Brewer told with me regarding how Mr. Palmer practiced. Brad developed the Arnold Palmer Golf Academies with Mr. Palmer and was the Director of Instruction for the Academies for many years. He had the privilege of playing many rounds with Mr. Palmer and spending a great deal of time with him.

Brad shared with me that one of his favorite practice sessions with Mr. Palmer occurred prior to the 2004 Masters. The 2004 Masters was going to be his last Masters as a competitor and he wanted to have a good showing. Prior to the Masters, Mr. Palmer would have Brad go to the practice range with him and have Brad go through shots he would be hitting at Augusta National. Brad would give him a yardage and where the pin was on a specific hole and Mr. Palmer would execute the shot. Mr. Palmer would play a virtual practice round from the practice range at Bay Hill!

Mr. Palmer loved to practice and hit balls on the range. Brad said that this was a frequent way that he would spend a range session.

For all of us, this is a great way to spend a practice session. Play your home course from the driving range. You hit a variety of clubs to different targets rather than the “hit and rank” mentality that I frequently see as I watch people practice.

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

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