Strive to make practice as perfect as possible

  • Tue Jul 17th, 2012 6:57pm

<b>GOLF TIPS | </b>By Tyrone Hardy For The Weekly Herald

Hey Ballinger buddies. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer now that it has arrived.

After golfing recently, I had a customer ask some questions regarding how to improve their game.

Obviously lessons are an option. But the main problem I discovered was simply a lack of that dreaded word: practice. Allen Iverson created a monumental sound bite during an interview by extolling the virtues of practice. It’s that simple: to improve we must practice.

Unfortunately the old saying of “practice makes perfect” needs to be revamped to say “perfect practice makes perfect.” What most people are doing at the driving range is simply getting mild aerobic exercise. They may even be ingraining bad habits. There is a right way to practice and a wrong way.

So I thought I would share a few of my views about practicing. The first idea is that a consistent, more frequent schedule is much more productive than a long session once in a while. For example, it is better to practice for 15 minutes twice a week than it is to practice for an hour once a month.

Second, slow down. Most people get through a bucket of 70 balls in about half an hour. At that pace, there can’t be much focus and commitment to any swing changes or exercises.

To slow down try the following simple changes.

If you are right-handed, place the balls behind you on the other side of the mat. This will get you to take more time between shots. You can also keep all the balls in the bucket instead of placing them in the tray. Another tip is to try and take at least one full practice swing before you actually hit the ball. This exercise will double the amount of swings you make during a practice session.

One final point about practicing (this may be the most important one of them all) is to have a plan on what you are going to practice, stick with it and reward yourself when you perform correctly.

Here is the kicker: do not let the ball flight determine whether you were successful. For example, if you are working on making a proper weight shift, you want to look at your back foot at the end of the swing and see whether or not it is vertical and 90 percent of your weight is on your front foot to determine if you have succeeded.

If you make a swing and you see these signs of success, then pat yourself on the back even if you didn’t hit the ball very well. Because it is possible to hit the ball well while making an incorrect swing, using the ball as the determining factor of success can lead to a false sense of accomplishment.

When you are trying to make any swing changes, your ability to hit the ball will invariably get worse before it gets better. But by focusing on the move you are trying to make, the changes will soon become ingrained and the ball flight will get more consistent. Try these tips and you will get more out of each practice session.

Tyrone Hardy is co-owner of Hardy Golf LLC and director of golf at Ballinger Lake Golf Course. For more information, go to www.ballingerlakegolf.com. Also check out Ballinger on Twitter and Facebook.