Readers of this page know that I have been struggling recently with my golf-life balance and trying to find the time to get enough play and practice to maintain my effectiveness. I had a thought about a month ago; that to give myself a chance, I needed to make golf more of a second nature activity, like tying your shoes. After all, how often do we tie our shoes, maybe twice a day? Does anyone screw up tying their shoes? No. Does anyone have to think about how to tie their shoes? No. Like golf, it’s a learned activity, and while we may have spent a few hours practicing while we were very young, we dedicate merely seconds per day and execute flawlessly every time. If only golf were so easy.
The Plan: A week before I left for Myrtle Beach, and every day in the two weeks since I have returned, I’ve made sure to chip and putt for just 15-20 minutes at a golf course on my way home during the evening commute. My family hardly misses me. In the two weeks that I’ve been back, I’ve only played nine holes twice, and will attempt 18 tomorrow, but the return on these mini time investments has been big. I’m very comfortable over any short game shot and am executing fearlessly. More importantly, I’m not thinking about the shot or putt, just feeling it during the rehearsal strokes and pulling the trigger. The metrics have been good as well. I’ve never chipped and pitched on the Myrtle trip so effectively and today during my 9-hole round was 3 for 3 on up and downs.
The mechanics of the daily routine. I arrive at the course and select one club to work with and three balls. Vary the club daily but make sure to putt at least every third day. I also put a tee in my pocket in the event that all the holes on the practice green are occupied and I need to set up my own target. Only practice for the prescribed time and focus intently on every shot; make every precious second count. The short duration makes concentration easy and the only distraction I deal with is the occasional pack of children getting themselves ready for their twilight nine-hole event.
So you say, “Brian, what does this do for your ball striking?” Nothing, except fill me with confidence that if I miss the green, I’ve got a good shot at saving par. As a result, I’m more relaxed on the full swings.
Remember, there are no pictures on the scorecard, and everyone doesn’t need 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient, so try working your short game in these little micro-bursts and see if this doesn’t work for you as well. Anyone out there had any success with this method? Good luck if you try!