Practice Like A Pro

Learn how to practice effectively and start seeing results

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When practicing out on the range, it's important you remember to be in a training mind-set, not necessarily a playing one. This means, in addition to working on your golf swing, you should also condition your body, too. I like to work on stretching the big muscles of my body before I even make a single swing. This helps free up any tense muscles or joints and gets me ready to start making some free-flowing golf swings.

One of my favorite stretches is simply to hold a club along the shoulders and make some practice strokes. As you do this, pull with your right hand going back and then pull with the left hand coming through. This is a great stretch of the entire body. Do it several times, then try doing it in reverse, where you start from the impact position and work your way to the top of your backswing.

Despite what you may think, playing golf while riding a cart can sometimes hurt you more than help you. If you can, walk the course. You'll loosen up and stay more flexible. But if you opt to ride, stretch as often as you can during the round to prevent stiffening up.

The next drill I like to do before I actually hit a ball is to tuck a towel under my arms and make some practice backswings. The goal is to stay connected and keep my arms in front of my chest. In doing this drill, if you do it right, the towel should stay tucked in your underarms. If it falls, keep trying until the towel stays connected to your body. The more you keep your hands in front of your chest, the stronger your rotation will be.

As you warm up for your practice session, don't always reach for the driver. Try warming up with heavier clubs like short irons and wedges first. It will help smoothen your tempo and prevent you from swinging too fast, too soon.

If you're lucky enough to watch Tour players practice, you'll see that many of them spend countless hours working on their alignment.

Let me ask you something. Have you ever had a day where you feel uncomfortable over the ball? Or you feel awkward? I'll bet in almost every case, it's a matter of bad alignment. If you're not aligned correctly, not only is it uncomfortable, but it wreaks havoc on your ability to make good, consistent golf swings. I like to use two alignment rods in my practice station, even when I'm not working on my alignment! Make sure your feet, hips, shoulders and eyes are aligned carefully. I like to hit shots with a square stance and square shoulders, making sure my feet and shoulders are aligned parallel left of the target.


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