What are the Do’s and Don’ts of golf practice?

Lately, I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries on what to do and not do while practicing golf.  Here we go:

  • Do find a PGA professional for lessons.  Make sure you trust him/her and that their teaching style melds with the way you learn.
  • Do work on your short game.    Dedicate 75% of your practice time to see the quickest improvement.
  • Do simulate game conditions.  This will help you transition your practice to the course.  
  • Do develop a pre-shot routine for every club in the bag and repeat it for each practice shot you hit.
  • Do use alignment sticks as an aid for correct setup and for dialing your mind into the target on short game shots (and putts).
  • Do film your swing and review it regularly.  What you think you are doing often is not what you are doing.
  • Don’t become a range robot and rake ball after ball into the same position shooting at the same target.  
  • Don’t confuse practice with warm-up before a round.  Never work on swing mechanics right before you play; it will screw your head up on the course.  Just get loose and relax.
  • Don’t practice extraordinarily long putts.  You want to see your lags get close and expunge any visions of three-putting.  30-40 footers should be the max.
  • Don’t accept swing instruction from well-meaning friends.  Amateurs teach amateurs to play like amateurs.  (See #1 Do above.)
  • Don’t work on more than one mechanical change at a time.  You’ll become a swing pretzel if you do.

There you have them, now Do get to work.  Good luck!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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4 Responses to What are the Do’s and Don’ts of golf practice?

  1. One way to avoid the first don’t, never hit the same club more than 3 times

  2. Brian Penn says:

    Agreed. I’ve heard a variation of that theory and that’s to use the same club for no more than six balls while working on swing. The first four are for the mechanical change and the last two are purely for thinking target. Thanks.

  3. Nailed this list Brian. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the range before a round and tried to work on my “swing” and then had an absolute disaster of a round. Great list.

  4. Brian Penn says:

    I admit it’s easier said than done, especially when you warm up poorly and the tendency is to try and fix your swing before you tee off. We’ve all done it. I am on a quest this year to find out how to warm up most effectively. I want to hit the first tee with confidence even when my swing is off. May be searching for more than a year on this one 🙂

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