Editor’s Note: Following is the fourth of six in-depth instruction pieces in digest form from Top 30 instructor Tom Patri’s 2005 book, The Six-Spoke Approach to Golf. Tom is one of the most respected teachers and coaches in the game, and we're honored to add his deep passion and knowledge to the pages of Golf Tips.
It's not how much time you spend, it's how you spend your time! This portion of the Six-Spoke Approach To Golf will deal with just that: Time.
Only after we have Spoke No. 3 understood (Analysis with Perspective ) and in place and providing real feedback are we ready to sit down and organize our time to maximize our game improvement. The detailed organization of your time in advance is critical to maximizing your opportunities each time you drive through the front gates of your local golf club.
Those of us who have true passion for this great game and really want to take our game to the next level have to use every available second in the most effective and efficient manner possible. After all, time is the most valuable commodity on the planet. We all have time-consuming jobs, family and social obligations. On top of all that emergencies pop up, and of course we are naturally limited by daylight.
As I was constructing the outline for my Six Spoke Approach, it became clear to me that the vast majority of my students not only did not use what time that had available wisely, but never really thought through the possibly of sitting down and actually mapping out a game plan — a practice schedule that makes sense in advance. I like my students who are serious about taking their games to the next level to put pencil to paper at the start of the season to create a blueprint for success. I said pencil specifically because if Spoke No. 3 shows statistical changes during a period, then our practice plan may in fact change.
Ponder these thoughts:
- Based on what the statistical analysis (Spoke No. 3 ) describes, the player should allocate time to the weakest links receiving the most time .
- The player needs to map out a weekly schedule in detail. Understand that adjustments to specific time usage may change based on statistical changes during any time period.
The three areas you can help yourself in the most are:
- A) Range and short game time at your club with assigned skill drills
- B) At-home indoor drills that you can do on those days you can't get to the club. There is huge value here. Let no day go by without reminding both you mind and your body of the motor skill functions you are trying to groove . Maybe this is each a.m. before you head of to work or p.m. just before bed. Don't discount the benefit that a mere 15-20 minutes of a particular skill drill can provide over the course of an entire season.
- C) Design two or three drills that travel easily. In other words, drills that you could perform anywhere on the planet. At work, in a train, airline aisle, hotel room, etc. Have you grasped the message that I don't want a wasted second of any day , any week, any month.?
It really comes down to three simple questions when you finally sit down to design any time management program.
- Where do you want to go (targets, goals)?
- How are you going to get there (Developing a detailed game plan)? Be time management specific.
- HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT (improvement)!
Managing your time and following an exact game plan takes a tremendous amount of discipline. Nothing good comes easy. That said, I’ll 1000% assure you that if you in fact sit down and, based on solid statistical data (Spoke No. 3), design a detailed and well-thought-out practice schedule and stick with it, YOU WILL IMPROVE and improve big time.
A few key points when putting your proposed practice schedule on paper.
- Be realistic. Set your goals and design your practice schedule in a manner that will allow you the stick to the plan and feel good about yourself.
- Design a drill program that touches every major weakness in your game .
- As time passes and you improve, be prepared to alter both the drills as well as time usage as it statistically plays out. You will have to, on a regular basis, re-work (weekly, bimonthly) your practice plan as you make improvements to one area while another area may falter.
Here is the bottom line: PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT, PERFECT PRACTICE DOES!
If I can ever be of any help to any of you out there in Golf Tips cyberland please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I would be help to help your design your on personal practice schedule.
View Tom's teaching and coaching bio at www.tompatri.com and reach him directly at (239) 404-7790