It never ceases to amaze me to watch golfers with the worst swings imaginable practicing their swing! Practicing an outside in, over the top motion will only groove that motion. ("groove that motion", cool.) There's a misconception out there that once you get to your 3rd extra-large bucket your wicked slice suddenly turns into a slight draw and you gain an extra 50 yards. Sounds ridiculous right? No more ridiculous than going to the range to practice an over the top slice swing for 200 balls!
Up for an experiment? Do this the next time you go to the range. As you're passing golfers on your way to an open stall, casually access them as you walk by. Something like this; sucks, sucks, sucks, not bad, sucks, really sucks, etc. (use your inner monologue for this) When you get to your stall think about how you would have accessed yourself had you just walked by. Chances are you'd being saying "sucks". That's o.k., were going to fix that. But in order to improve you have to learn at least semi-sound fundamentals, and learn HOW to practice them.
Want to play better golf with no practice? Check this out.
Here's what to do:
1. Warm up before you get in the car to go to the range if you can. A weighted donut on your pitching wedge is good. I've always liked to loosen up and get "a feel" for the club by chipping around the back yard with my sand wedge for 10 minutes or so. It's great for your timing and feel, and probably shots you won't practice when you're paying for balls at the range.
2. When you get to the range take 10 or 20 swings with just your left arm. (right arm if you're a lefty) This helps strengthen your naturally weaker left side and loosen's you up at the same time.
3. Start of with your favorite short iron. Mine's my pitching wedge. You want to hit some nice easy shots to get good and loose and also to have some early success to build on.
4. Hit a couple of shots with the odd or even number irons until your work your way up to the big bat.
5.Here's one you won't hear from a lot of instructor's. Practice with the driver should be mostly with a "grip it and rip it" approach. You can always back off a little later if you can't control it. I was taught early on to swing hard and worry about direction later. (or as my dad used to say, "swing hard in case you hit it".) Swinging hard is much more difficult to learn once you've grooved a "candy-ass" swing. A lot of golfers get overwhelmed with swing thoughts and have so much to remember that they simply can't swing hard. They might forget something! Keep this in mind; (no matter what you've heard about swinging 80% etc.) every pro golfer on tour swings harder than you do. Does Tiger look like he's swinging 80%?
6. With about 1/2 your balls left practice SHOT MAKING! This is the most important aspect of your practice. Practice hitting fades and draws, high and low, with all your clubs. Learning to work the ball left and right and feeling comfortable doing so will do more for your game and your score than anything else you can do. You'll learn to feel your swing, which makes it possible to correct problems that creep into your swing while on the course.
7. Another great drill is to take say a 7 iron and try to hit the 100 yard marker. (not by throwing it) Then take the same 7 iron and try to hit the 150 yard marker. The point is again to get the feel of the club and gain the ability to gauge distance with your swing. It's also a good trick to know when playing into a headwind. A "easy" 8 iron will fly low and not be affected as much as a hard wedge on a windy day.
8. Try like heck to leave on a good note! If you're having a bad day at the range back down to your wedges before you leave to make sure you at least hit a few solid shots. Some days we are just off (suck). If you're tired, or not focused, or just plain off you don't want to beat the driver all the way to the last ball and have to drive home with all those negative thoughts. (Especially if you're playing the next day)
9. Practice as often as you can. Don't overdo each session. It's better to hit one bucket and call it a day than to hit a second or third and and screw up your swing because you're too tired.
10. If you have the choice of hitting balls or playing golf.....PLAY GOLF! Even if you're in a huge rutt and want to work it out on the range....PLAY GOLF. Practice is great but there is no substitute for playing. The absolute best thing you can do is go golfing and then hit the range right after. Work on what cost you the most strokes on the course. If that means hitting 80 yard wedges for 1/2 the bucket then so be it. AND PICK A TARGET! Chances are that 80 yard wedge that landed in the bunker on 17 will be "o.k" at the range.
Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent. Be sure that you have a purpose in mind to every shot you hit at the range, just like at the course.