Golf as a sport takes tremendous discipline to master. It may not look like much to those who don’t understand golf. But in reality, the sport requires a huge amount of practice to build skill. And it’s all possible when you have the perfect golf practice routine.
Unlike other sports, getting better at golf is not about how long you practice. Rather, you need to spend your time at the course or the driving range smartly focusing on quality of practice.
Instead of focusing on ‘how long’ you practice, focus solely on the ‘how’ part, how you practice. You can make great improvement in your golf scores with proper golf practice.
In this post, we’re going to get to the bottom of how to create the perfect golf practice schedule.
Full disclosure, it’s not a magic formula that you can follow and become a better golfer. Rather, it’s a summation of best practices that every dedicated golfer should include in their routine.
Golf Resource: Foy Golf Academy Practice System + Practice Plans
Start with the Weaknesses
When you are particularly good at something, it’s only instinctive to try and repeat that action. It makes us feel good about ourselves. But unfortunately, it’s one of the biggest obstacles in a golfer’s life to succeed.
To become a better player, you need to identify your weaknesses. When you have a clear idea about which areas to improve on, you can utilize your time at the driving range or the gym more effectively.
Any kind of growth requires pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. So, sit on a table with pen and paper or whip out the notes app on your phone. Now, comb through your memory for embarrassing moments at the golf course or the driving. We all have them. The beauty of golf lies in acknowledging them.
Depending on what kind of player you are and what the depth of your experience is, you may come up with a very long or a very short list of weaknesses. Both are okay.
The bottom line is, only you know where you need to improve. And your golf instructor, of course. So, if you’re absolutely serious about having a good golf practice plan, I recommend getting help from a professional.
Coming back to the point, you should have a list of your weaknesses ready. Now, it’s time to act on them at your usual practice place.
Are you physically fit to improve your golf skills? Just like I said before, golf as a sport requires a lot of work to master. And physical fitness is crucial.
Physical Fitness and Your Golf Practice Routine
Golf is a sport of many moves. From long drive shots to subtle putting, each of them requires a different muscle group. You must be able to control those muscles on command to use your club as accurately as possible.
For example, you may read all the books in the world about how to hit a ball further. If your core strength and shoulder rotation are not on-point, the knowledge won’t get you anywhere.
In golf, five muscles are most important. If you’re not a fan of hitting the gym, you should work on these muscles anyways.
Commonly referred to as the hip muscle, the gluteus maximum is responsible for your internal and external hip rotation. Hip rotation is key when your goal is to improve club head speed. Also, it gives you more control over your backswing.
Pectorals & Latissimus:
These are two different groups of muscle working toward the same goal. They make your shoulder stronger as well as strengthen the adductors. Working on these muscles will allow you more range of motion on your backswing, downswing, and post-swing follow through.
Think of it as the centerpiece of your body. This abdomen muscle is responsible for balance and overall harmony between all muscle groups. We all have the core strength to an extent. However, for the perfect golf practice schedule, you will need a stronger core.
Forearms are responsible for connecting your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulder. If you work on everything else but forget about the forearms, you will not be able to control your shots at all!
Now that you know which muscle groups to work on, let’s put together the ultimate golf practice plan for you.
Golf Resource: Foy Golf Academy Practice System + Practice Plans
Come Up with a Simple Practice Formula
I already mentioned the fact that you need to practice smartly instead of going round and round on the same routine. So, you need to come up with a formula. The list of weaknesses you made earlier will come in handy in this case.
The first instinct for the majority of the golfers is to practice full swing shots. Whether it’s drivers or long irons, you are most likely to spend about 3/4th of your practice time for those. And that’s the first problem.
The lack of attention to intricate shots like wedging and putting, can leave you in a bad place. You might be hitting long distances, but you’ll still be a high handicapper.
So, your first task is to split your golf practice session into sections. Put more emphasis on your weaknesses. And keep a smaller chunk of time for the shots that you’re already good at.
It would be ideal to use 75% of your time on the weaknesses. As you overcome them with time, you can reduce the percentage as well. An ideal golf practice routine would be 50-50 attention to both long and short games.
It’s time to Create the Routine
If you thought we were going to create the routine for you, you were wrong. The ultimate goal of this post is to make you aware of your weaknesses. Also, to help you with the knowledge that will allow you to craft your own golf practice routine.
You can either split your practice session by minutes or by shot counts. Going with the time approach is more fruitful for players who don’t take a long time before every shot.
If you are one of those players who thinks before taking each shot, going with the shot-count approach will be smarter.
An example golf practice schedule may look something like this:
- 5 minutes of warming up
- 10 minutes of long game using both drivers and long irons
- 10 minutes of short game with wedges, putt, punch, approach, and flop
- 10 minutes of working on your swing issues i.e. duck hooking or shanking
- 5 minutes of switching up clubs and hitting every shot
Just like this, you can create an ultimate practice plan for 40 minutes. This 40-minute practice will be more helpful than shooting an hour of the long game. Also, keep notes of your performance while hitting the shots. It will work as analytics of your score.
Another great idea is to video document yourself. You simply need your phone and a selfie stick. Set it up to your waist height and put the selfie stick directly behind you. After you’re done with your practice, you can look at the clips while enjoying a hot cup of coffee!
If you need step by step practice plans to follow, rather than creating your own, we have several of them
The Three Major Sections of any Golf Practice Plan
You might be working on a lot of shots, but at the end of the day, all of them belong to three main categories. Full swings, wedge play, chipping, and putting. Let’s take a look at these individually to get an in-depth idea.
Practice Segment 1: Full Swings
Full swings are a great place to start your practice. They help get the adrenaline flowing through your veins and pump you up for the day. Full swings are all about swing path and your posture. If your downswing and your range of motion are in sync, it won’t take Mr. Hulk to hit 120 mph on the club head!
A key element of practicing full swings is the switching of clubs. If you’re only shooting with drivers, you are essentially hampering your overall tempo. You may be getting long distances, but the landing zones are most likely to be all over the place.
Also, it’s essential that you have enough knowledge about your clubs. Using the wrong club for the wrong reason will bring catastrophic effects on your performance
You can start with a 1-wood and work your way up to gain more control over the flight path of the ball. 1-wood is also known as the driver because it can shoot the ball the farthest, anywhere from 200 to 300 yards!
Next, you have the irons. Irons are used by veteran golfers to cover a distance of fewer than 200 yards. You will find irons numbered from 1 to 9. The numbers represent the loft angle of the club. So, a 1-iron has the least loft angle while a 9-iron has the most.
For long shots, players usually use 1, 2, or 3 irons because they have the least loft. The closer you get to the green, the higher up you go in iron numbering. You should be spending a lot of time mastering irons because they are generally hard to control. Also, the added loft allows the ball to go high in the air quickly, something to keep in mind.
So, for your full swing, you will most likely use your drivers and long irons. You may not have a 1 or 2-iron in your set because they are the hardest to master. But I recommend getting those to get the feel. And learning to use long irons will make you a better player in the long run.
Practice Segment 2: Wedges
You’ve had your fun with the long shots. It’s time to calm down and focus on your wedge play. It’s one of the crucial parts of your golf practice routine because it’s a hard skill to master.
And wedges are the biggest factor when it comes to lowering your score. The better you control your short game, the less you have to hit the ball! It’s that simple.
Wedge clubs are designed with significantly higher loft angles to get the ball in the air. You should work your way around the pitching wedges, gap wedges, lob wedges, and sand wedges equally. All of it will give you the proper feel of how each of them feels.
Keep in mind that if you buy readymade golf sets, you may only have a pitching wedge. Most sets are generalized for players that consist of one or two of each club type.
You should definitely invest in lob wedges, sand wedges, and gap wedges separately to be at the top of your game. Here is our guide on how to buy the proper golf wedge and here is our guide on the best golf wedges (reviewed).
If you’re afraid of clearing the hazards like many other players, you should focus more on lob wedges. They can get the ball high enough to clear a protected area or a bunker, but won’t go too far from you.
A gap wedge is used when the distance is just over 100 yards. You can take a full swing with a gap wedge. The ball is very unlikely to go farther than 110 yards.
A sand wedge does exactly what it sounds like. Sand wages have very high loft angles. These are perfect to get out of bunkers or to clear tall grass on the rough.
Then you can use your pitching wedge before switching to putters.
Practice Segment 3: Putting and Chipping
Last but not the least, it’s time to put the ball into the hole! And there is no other way to do it except for including putting and chipping into your golf practice routine.
These shots are not very fun to play. That’s why a lot of players just bails on them while practicing. It’s one of the biggest reasons why golfers cannot lower their handicaps. But you won’t make this mistake. You will work hard on your putting.
When you are getting close to the green, it’s time to practice your chip shots. You will know you have successfully hit one when you see the ball bouncing after impact. Most professional players start chipping from the fringe, an area just outside the green.
And when you’re inside the green, it’s time to bring out the putters to roll the ball. Putters generally have very flat club faces because you don’t want the ball to get any flight. The ultimate goal of a putter is to roll the ball into the hole.
If you’re open to experimenting, you can try the broomstick putter and the belly putter. These are tall clubs to use when you cannot get the standard putters to help.
Tips to Enhance Your Golf Practice Plan Even Further
As your well-wisher, I feel obligated to share some of the tips that have helped me become a better player. These tips will go hand in hand once you are done with your practice schedule.
Learn to Aim
If you still have problems with aiming the ball, then you should discard any practice routine and focus on fixing your aim. Because it doesn’t matter how many hours you put into practice, the improper aim will only do you harm.
One of the things that helped me the most is a strike spray. Basically, you cover your club face with the spray to see exactly where you are hitting the ball. Because in most cases, the improper aim is a result of hitting the ball with the heel or the toe of the club.
Also, you should get your alignment right with the help of alignment sticks. Ideally, I wouldn’t recommend using these sticks because they tend to interfere with our natural sense of alignment. But when in need, you should definitely use them.
Lastly, work on your posture and your swing. Staring from your backswing to your downswing and the follow-through, all have an impact on how your aim will play out. Here is our guide on the proper golf swing sequence.
Get Your Basics Right
At the end of the day, golf is not as simple as it looks. For example, the types of clubs alone are enough to intimidate a beginner. So, you must take your time with the sport. Study in your free time. Know about the different golf terms. Learn the purpose of different clubs, ball markings, different types of shots, and so on.
You can also take help from an instructor. Taking help from a professional is always the fastest way to learn. An instructor will practically teach you how to stand, how to grip your club, how to mark your ball, the swing path, and everything else that goes into a golf practice routine.
Quality over Quantity
When you practice, don’t get hung up on how many shots you are playing. Instead, take time to perfect each shot. Quality is always better than quantity, in every aspect of life. So, when you hit the driving range, don’t give in to your instinct and get a jumbo bucket.
Start with a medium bucket. If you’re satisfied with the results of your practice, then you can move up to a large or even jumbo bucket of golf balls.
Mix Up the Routine
Needless to say, stick to the same routine will make golf boring in no time. That’s why you need to switch things up every now and then. Instead of starting with the driver, start with the putters!
The human brain responds positively to new information. Even if you know the information already, switching things up will keep things interesting for you in the long run.
Creating a good golf practice routine is easier than you would imagine. Instead of making complex tables of when to do what, go with the flow and let your instincts talking to you. And in most cases, you are going to deny your instinct. That’s how you become better at golf.