Click here to view article in CSGA Links Digital Magazine »
What is the purpose of a practice session? Many people will unfortunately spend their practice session trying to hit only perfect shots. On the surface it seems to make sense. I would ask you to think of a productive practice session differently. If you have a typical “bad shot” that shows up often or under pressure I promise you that being able to hit that exact shot, the slice, the push, whatever it happens to be on purpose, is the path to not hitting the bad shot when you are on the course.
Stop trying to hit only perfect shots when you are practicing. In fact, by purposely hitting less than perfect shots during your practice sessions, you will learn how to hit more great shots on the course. When I work with students I often use what I term the “Goldilocks Drill.” Hit it wrong in one sense, hit it wrong in the other and then hit the third one Just Right.
Think of those par saving putts from 5 to 10-feet. You need to get them on line and you may notice that you have a tendency to push or pull these pressure putts. It would certainly be a good idea to find out if there is a set-up, posture, aim or mechanical reason for this. I see all kinds of reasons for the putts to not start on line. Poor aim, a misperception of where the golfer is aimed, a stroke that is manipulated, trying to guide the putter through the stroke, over acceleration and so on.
Once any chronic issue is resolved I would encourage you to follow the instructions in the video. Miss a putt intentionally to the right, then to the left. Was there a feeling that stood out? Some golfers will get a feeling in one hand or another, perhaps a forearm that feels different in order to pull or push the ball off the line that you have chosen. Now that you can feel what putts to the left and right feel like, your brain is very capable of finding the “middle”.
Think of it this way: A person walks onto a putting green for the first time. They have never hit a putt in their life. The quickest way for them to figure out how to hit a putt the right distance would be to hit a putt and adjust. If the first one goes too far, hit the second one too short. Now the new golfer has a reference of how to hit the third putt the proper distance. A player that regularly hits the ball with an open club face needs to feel what closed is like before he/she can find square.
Using your practice session to understand what the proper and improper putting stroke feels like. Hit some bad shots in your practice sessions and save some more of those perfect shots for the golf course.
George Connor has been teaching and coaching golfers of all abilities since 1989. The two-time Connecticut PGA Teacher of the Year is based at Farmington Woods GC in Avon, CT. George’s student’s include Division 1 College Players, Professional Players, State Amateur Champions, Club Champions as well as beginners and intermediate players.