Work Your Golf Game Like You Tie Your Shoes


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!



8 thoughts on “Work Your Golf Game Like You Tie Your Shoes”

  1. Brian

    What a great plan! Fitting golf in around your life is always a struggle. I will be interested to hear how you felt while playing 18 holes! Many would complain that they would be rusty, but in your case this may not be so. Good Luck tomorrow!


    1. Jim, thanks. This is helping me to feel like more of my game is second nature and to get the needed reps in. Will definitely let you know how it goes tomorrow. Brian

  2. Jim, I was 1 for 5 on the up and downs today and the one success was a putt from the fringe. Didn’t get it done with my 58 (three pitches and one bunker shot). If I’m being honest, I started to get a little tentative on those which is the habit I’m trying to break. Tough going breaking those tendencies; I’m sure you’re aware.. Didn’t putt well either, but the good news is the 13 GIR produced a pretty good round (76) which had a chance to be really good. Going to concentrate on the 58 this week during the 15 minute practice sessions. Thanks, Brian

  3. Brian – Glad to learn you have a plan of action that’s been making a difference.

    I too have been sporadically tentative with my chipping and pitching of late. I’ve got to figure out why, in my subconscious at least, being short by half is the preferable miss than running it 10 feet by when chipping around the greens. I’ve really struggled recently getting my chips and putts to the hole (slow green speeds, aside), and it has really been holding my scoring back.

    Any amateur-Freud-isms come to mind?


  4. Dave, I’ve found a couple of things that help with the shorts on the chips. Mechanically, make sure to hold your finish and not abruptly recoil or terminate the shot. Secondly, on your rehearsal strokes, sight the hole and then feel the distance all the way to the hole in-lieu of trying to chip to a landing spot. I try to feel the distance to the hole on my putting rehearsal strokes and was previously chipping to a spot. When I reconciled the techniques and tried to feel the distance on both putts and chips, the chips started running out. Good luck! Brian

    1. One other thing. Take as little loft as you need on all shots around the green and get the ball rolling as soon as possible, as roll is always easier to judge than flight. Brian

    1. It is working great for me now. Just yesterday, I found a little nugget with the 58 in just 10 minutes of practice. Can’t wait to hear about the journey to Whistling Straits. Remember not to over-prepare and just have fun. Good luck! Brian

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