Are you addicted to practice? Apparently I am.

I’ve been chewing on some advice that Vet4Golfing51 passed on in response to my 2012 improvement plan.  His premise was that I didn’t play enough and that play improves performance more than practice.  I just looked at my 2011 records and holy cow!  In addition to my 35 rounds, I spent 70 days practicing, which is a ton of effort for essentially very little improvement.  Not only was I surprised that I dedicated as much time as I did but that my approach clearly didn’t pay dividends.  Thanks Vet 🙂

Now the weather in the DC area has been quite mild this winter with no measurable snow and I actually have practiced twice in January while trying to learn the new short game and putting techniques of Stan Utley.  This is clearly required work since I’m trying to train my muscles for a new motion, however it’s clear from my stats last year that I’m addicted to practice and am wondering what my performance might have been with only half the practice time dedicated, if I had used the balance on play (9-hole rounds, for instance.)  Range rats like Tom Kite and Vijay Singh benefited from their time spent on prolonged practice but they got enough play in to validate.

So going forward my goal in 2012 is again, 35 full rounds, only 35 practice days and 20 9-hole rounds between the full rounds which should provide enough play to avoid that foreign feeling I often get on the first tee, and still keep me fresh.  10 of the full rounds will again be compressed into six straight days of play at Myrtle Beach which would leave a good  interval of 18 hole and nine hole play for the balance of the year.

A couple notes on the Stan Utley techniques.  I’ve been rug putting all winter and am very comfortable with the new fundamentals.  The change has appeared to take hold and I putted very well on my practice green last weekend.  The chipping is going well too, as I’ve been working that on the rug, but the pitch shot is still a work in progress.  When properly executed, the direction and distance control are great, yet without the opportunity to pitch inside, it’s still quite foreign.  Looking forward to temps in the 60s this week and feeding the addiction a little more.