My GolfTEC Practice Plan.
Wow! Since I uploaded my last article, “What GolfTEC Has Done for Me”, I’ve been absolutely blown away by the number of GolfTEC Members who have either stopped me while in at GolfTEC, or emailed, texted and phoned me enquiring about my practice plan.
In fact the level of interest has been so great I’ve realised there are a lot of people using GolfTEC that could benefit from having a practice plan of their own.
I can’t blame them either. What I’ve realised about the venue we’ve created is that, for most people using it, it’s the first time they’ve experienced this degree of potential variety in a practice and play venue and the scope of tools on offer for golfers wanting to improve.
What I realised when I starting putting a dedicated practice plan together for myself was that firstly, at my disposal, I had:
- Over a hundred and twenty different golf courses, with well over 2000 different holes!
- Four different driving ranges.
- Four different short game areas, (Where alone, courtesy of the interactive touchscreens, the permutations of hitting position, distance, pin selection and club of choice are literally endless),
- A contoured “real feel” putting green complete with fringed chipping grass.
- A real indoor practice bunker.
- Video analysis that showed every swing from two different angles.
Secondly, due to this endless variety I could also finesse and change my plan as I started to improve, giving myself more challenges and degree of difficulty as needed.
So, here it is, the practice plan I’ve used over the last few months.
Firstly I think it’s incredibly important to make sure every element of the game is included in your practice plan. The worst possible thing you can do at GolfTEC is to come in and just hit endless five irons or drivers on the range. You’re going to get bored very quickly and practice will become a chore rather than a dynamic and rewarding experience. Also this kind of practice might build you a repetitive sound full swing but it bears almost no relevance to the actual game of golf, where you are called upon to hit a wide variety of shots on any given hole.
I do different things on different days, depending on what I feel is lacking in my game. Some days, if I feel there is a glaring technical fault in my swing, I will hit the range. Mostly working with a six iron, because it’s a long enough club to see errors, but not one you’ll tire easily swinging. I’ll hit some warm-up shots taking note of the cleanness of contact, the starting direction of my shots, any curve, the trajectory, carry, ball speed and club speed.
Then I’ll tape my swing and have a close look at it from both angles at full speed, then slow motion, then stop action. And, just like when I’m giving a lesson to a student, I’ll be looking for the root cause of any fault I have developed. I might add it’s a lot harder to be objective in looking at your own swing, in that you tend to see the same things that have bugged you for years!
Anyway, that aside, I’ll then go to work to correct the given fault, making sure I video my swing at least every ten shots. I’ll also video myself in static positions and doing drills. To finish off the half hour I’ll hit 10-15 shots without looking at my swing on video again. What I’m trying to do here id just groove and feel the change, make it permanent. I’ll also be taking a keen interest in my contact to see if it’s improved and become what I wanted to see.
On the other hand if things have been going along ok, and I’m not trying to rid myself of a major swing fault, I have a variety of practice routines I do to “maintain”.
One of my favourites is to start of one of the short game ranges. I’ll go greenside with a 7 or 8 iron, and hit a few easy, running chips to a pin in the middle of the green. Then I’ll use a more lofted club to hit to a pin close to the edge of the green, where I have limited area to pitch and stop the ball, and have to employ more height and spin.
Then I’ll use the touchscreen to move steadily back from the green to hit longer pitch shots from varying distances, with various clubs. All the time I’m trying to internalise and get a feel for the length of swing I’m making back and through, to produce different carry distances. It’s this feel that I’ll be relying on out in the real world next time I play.
One thing I do on the course that I never used to do is use my rangefinder to get a precise distance to the flag right down to about 30 meters. I’ve found that since dialling in my wedge distances at Golftec I can now “muscle memory” various shorter distances in a way I never could before.
Another practice routine I have is to use any club and try to shape the ball in a variety of ways. I’ll attempt to hit what Tiger refers to as the “Nine Ball-flights”. I’ll try to hit a straight shot, a high straight shot, a low straight shot, a draw, a high draw, a low draw, then a fade, a low fade and a high fade. When I used to do try to do this outside on the range all I had to go one to gauge my success rate was observation. At GolfTEC if you do this drill really well you actually see the blue dot nicely position right on the middle line of the range after nine shots, meaning your average is neutral. Its great feeling to get and genuinely a challenge to produce.
Other days I’ll just use the practice bunker and green upstairs. I’ll start off in the bunker making sure I rake it to give myself perfect lies. Then I’ll hit some shots working on taking the right depth of cut and keeping the club accelerating through the sand. Upstairs I’ll start with some short putt circle drills, then some longer putts up and down hill to work on pace control. Finishing off with some greenside chips for feel.
When I got a game the next day I’ll generally play a few holes, trying to pick a course similar in style to the one I’ll face the next day. I won’t be working on my swing now, but switching into competitive mode. Thinking about placement off the tee, club selection into the greens and where the most advantageous spot to miss the green will be if I don’t hit a good shot. I’ll think hard about shot selection with my shot shots, how the green is sloping and whether I’d want to leave an uphill or downhill putt in the real world.
So there it is – the practice plan I’ve used over the last year to take me from 6 to 1. As you can see I do different things on different days depending on my mood and requirements. This variation also makes sure I keep my practice lively and engaging and stops me getting into a “range rat” mentality.
If you’d like to share your practice routine with the GolfTEC family, just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The best practice plan, as voted by the GolfTEC coaching team, will win a dozen Titleist Pro V1’s!