Today, I want to give a practice plan - a big one - since I told my new players I would be doing this and a few "old" players have asked for some fun stuff to focus on too. Here it is:
Short game practice:
On the golf course short game practice: If you can play 9 holes when it isn't a busy day, drop a ball short side and a ball long side of the hole and attempt to get both up and down. Keep stats. This will give you 18 up and down attempts in 9 holes. When you are short sided, what club are you using most of the time? When you are long sided, can you use less loft? Do you use less loft? Take note of what makes you successful.
Use about 5 different targets with varying distances. If you don't have holes cut, lay down towels or some other target.
Use 3 balls and hit a high, med and low to every target then go through the targets a second time hit 3 balls high med and low to every target using full routine and good visualization. Let me know if you need help changing your trajectories.
Full swing practice:
50% mechanics and the other 50% play style practice. If you have one hour to hit balls, make sure you spend at least 30 minutes of it with no thoughts of mechanics. When working on your mechanics, make sure your "feel is real" and that you are getting feedback in some way, such as shafts in the ground, or pre shot feel drills carried into the swing. When you shift to "game-like" practice, make sure you leave thoughts of mechanics behind. Instead, work on routine, visualization, tempo and execution.
Here are some ways to make your game-like practice easier to achieve:
Go through every club in your bag and hit 5 shots using full routine. After you hit the shot, rate yourself on your visualization, focus, routine and execution on a scale of 1-10. This is not a rating on execution alone. Can you practice well enough to make 8-10 on each and every shot? This is what it will take to shoot low on the golf course.
For a fun practice, hit 9 shots with 5 different clubs in your bag. Here are the ball flights you are working to achieve: high cut, high draw, high straight, normal trajectory cut, straight and low and low cut, low draw and low straight. If you want to be great at controlling where the ball spins, you will need to have great control of your clubface. If you want to be great at controlling the height of your shots, you will have to be great at controlling where your shaft is at impact. If your hands are ahead of the shot, it will fly low and visa versa. Start out by accomplishing this through ball position alone and work up to feeling it in your hands.
30 putt drill - This drill is great for focus on all shots you take, not just the tough ones. Put tees in the ground at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 feet. Putt one ball from each tee from 1 to 10. Putt twice at 10 and go back down to 1. Putt twice to 1 and go back to 10. Over the years, I have had players who have made all 30, but it is rare. That is your goal. Consider using your routine on all 30 putts, even the 1 footer. This is a good time to think about whether your routine makes sense on all putts. Long routines will allow you to lose focus from start to finish. What does your routine do for you? It should assist you in clearing your mind and being in the moment. It should move you from your plan and visualization into alignment and execution of the putt seamlessly. It should feel the same on a 6 footer for a win as it does on a 30 footer in a relaxed round. A great routine is like Linus and his blanket.
Around the World - every day, pick a distance and play the game. For example, today play AtW from 6 feet by putting tees in the ground in five places around the cup 6 feet away. Challenge yourself by choosing a cup with a lot of break and you will get to make putts with all breaks. Your goal is to putt around the world, making two putts from each tee except the turnaround tee. You will make 10 putts if successful. As always, I would love to see you using your routine.
Find a piece of yarn, ribbon or string and lay it on the green. A nice long piece is better, because today you are working on distance more than direction. Lay down 4 balls at 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 feet. Your goal is to putt the ball and get it to end within a foot of the string. The optimal speed would be a few rolls past the string. Let your eyes speak to your hands!
Have fun practicing!