Practice Archives - Troy Denton, PGA Professional - Golf Instruction

Play the Golf Course on the Driving Range

Northern Trust Open - Preview Day 3

Struggling to take your driving range swing to the golf course? It’s a common complaint among golfers. “But I hit it so great on the range. Why can’t I do that on the course?” Sound familiar?

Swings on the range and play on the course are 2 very different things. On the course, you’re not repeating the same club, in the same spot, with a perfect lie. You typically play with people and there’s time between shots. These fundamental differences can mean your time on the range isn’t always well spent.

Next time, refrain from repeatedly hitting the ball and try emulating your course play on the range. With each shot, imagine you are playing the course by using the same clubs you’d use for a hole.

For example, tee off with your driver, then choose a different club for your next swing, based on that lie. If you kept it on the straight and narrow, choose an appropriate iron or wood for your second shot. Did you hook it and land in the rough on your third swing? Then, grab your pitching wedge and pretend you’re trying to lay it up on the green. Or, visualize yourself in the sand trap and take a shot that gets you out.

Try hitting from different spots as well. Break away from what might be your favorite spot on the range and move around. Hit some from one end, a few more on the other, perhaps some middle of the way, then repeat. This also helps with my final suggestion – waiting between shots.

Moving around the range will imitate the time between shots that play on the course brings. It probably won’t be as long, but it will at least break up the rhythm that hitting on the range affords.

Make the most of your range time and stop the monotony of mindlessly hitting golf balls. Challenge yourself, mix it up, and get better!

Practice Frequently, Not Longer

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Round TwoPractice makes perfect, right? Well, not if you’re doing it wrong.

To improve your golf game, it’s important to take time to work on problem areas, master what you’re already good at and retain what you’ve learned. But, it’s how you go about your practice – in this case the duration and frequency – that can make the difference.

While it may make sense that the longer you practice, the better you’ll be, that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s much more beneficial to have shorter, more frequent practice sessions, than fewer, longer ones.

Shorter practice times allow you to be more deliberate and mindful in your actions. Whereas, with a long session on the range, you run the risk of mindlessly swinging the club, and loosing focus on the new skill you’re trying to master.

So, shoot for frequent practices, but keep them short and to the point. A practice session of 30 minutes or less, 4 or 5 times a week, is ideal.

Hit or Miss the Tee Drill

Golf ball on teeIf you are struggling with your angle of approach this drill could be for you.

You can use this drill with any club you like. The only other thing it requires is a teed golf ball.

There are two different ways you can use this drill. If your swing is too steep you can use it to shallow your swing or if your swing is too shallow you can use it to make your swing more steep.

To start this drill you place a golf ball on a tee. If you want to make your swing steeper the goal is to hit the tee while striking the golf ball. If you want to make your swing more shallow the goal is to not hit the tee while striking the golf ball. To get the hang of this drill you can start with slower and shorter swings and then move on to faster fuller swings.

Hit Wedges Into Hula Hoops For Better Control

cdn-hoolahoopThere is never a bad time to work on your short game. One of the best practice session you may ever have with wedges is to use hula hoops.

Sounds like a good time right? Well, after practicing with these you will really get a sense of your distance control and how you can drastically begin to make more birdies and save more pars. It’s really quite easy – bring 3 hula hoops to the practice area and lay them out at 20, 30 & 40 yards. Now hit 10 balls into each.

You’ll quickly notice what adjustments you needed to make to get the ball into each hoop. You can start moving the hoops as far back as you would like, but after just a few short sessions with these practice aids you’ll see huge improvements.

Now when you need to hit a wedge shot that lands 30 yards you can just visualize the hula hoops and remember how it felt to fly the ball 30 yards. If you’re having trouble controlling your distances give me a call, I’d be happy to come out and see what technical adjustments may need to be made to better improve the control.

Track How Far You Hit Each Club This Month, Learn Why

clubs If you’re like most amateurs, you probably have a rough idea of how far you hit each of your clubs – but you don’t know exactly how far each one goes. You might base your average distance on one great shot you hit with each club – but that doesn’t mean you’ll hit it that far each and every time. This causes inconsistency in your golf game, which leads to second guessing yourself (and we all know that second-guessing is the last thing you want to do before hitting a golf ball).

Tour players are truly great at knowing how far each club in their bag goes. They know it down to the exact yard. So why is this important for you? There are a host of reasons – the main one being that your score will dramatically improve if you do! The better you know your distances, the more accurate you can plot your way around a golf course, and the better you will score. Avoiding water, bunkers, and out-of-bounds is how you’ll stop making those big numbers which can ruin a round.

Once you know how far you hit each club you’ll have a much better chance of hitting more greens per round. Being short or long on your approach to a green is often more detrimental than being the correct distance, but either left or right.

Another reason for knowing how far each club goes is to make sure the distance gaps between each club are correct. If your seven iron only goes about 5 yards further than your 8 iron – it’s time to take your clubs in to get fitted. Having gaps like this is especially common when it comes to long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. Most amateurs keep replacing these clubs and when switching between different manufacturers, it’s tough to determine the actual distance gaps between them.

When it comes to knowing your distances, your short game (from within 130 yards) will benefit the most. Sticking it close to the flag from this distance is certainly the key to better scores.

So how do you know how far each club goes? There are a variety of ways to do this. By far, the best way to do it is through the help of technology. There are terrific launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope that can tell you exactly how far you hit each shot. These usually require the help of a golf professional.

The more low-tech method is to get out to the driving range and hit every club in your bag enough times to get a solid average distance for each one.

However you do it, make sure to be honest with yourself and don’t let your pride get in the way. The better you know your game, the better you can score and the more fun you will have.

Are You Ready to Improve Your Game? Contact Troy