Putting an ‘Edge’ to Practicing

Slab

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I’m able to give about 5 hours a week into practice just now which is great but I’m finding it difficult to put myself under meaningful pressure (i.e making it count) when using the practice facilities so I’m going to set some task targets across the 5 primary areas with points earned for achieving them, collect enough points and I’ll get the reward I set etc

I’m looking to set a minimum of two targets in each area and looking for opinions on what is realistic and achievable for a 15 index player (i.e there’s no point targeting sinking 10 consecutive 8ft putts when Tour Pros don’t get that)

The areas are:
Driver
Long Fairway
Approach
Short Game
Putting

What would be ideas for measurable targets please ?




Since there’s really no typical 15 index player…
I’m short off the tee at around 200yrds but usually on fairway, I use driver 13 times a round and will be disappointed if I don’t hit at least 11 fairways/first cut
Longish course so I may use 3FW for second shot 8-10 times (so like the driver, this club has to work well) but its not used into greens, just advancing the ball straight
My full approach shots are usually with 9i/PW but despite accuracy I get on range, I still miss too many greens with these clubs
Pretty steady putting with a couple of 3-putts spoiling a score but more often I’ll get a decent read on line/pace but my putting practice has no pressure/edge to it to replicate a comp round
I mess up too many tee shots on Par 3’s when using irons (not any real problem hitting same clubs off the fairway)

I wont have any electronic shot tracking on the range/practice areas so it’ll be very much a manual measure

TIA
 

Mel Smooth

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With the driver, more distance would be something to look at - another 20 yards would make a big difference.
If you're using a 3FW 8 to 10 times a round that's a lot, and if you can gain some distance off the tee, that will go down - do you carry a hybrid? I find them so easy to use.
How long are your par 3's? Again, a lofted hybrid to replace an iron might be helpful.
 

Backache

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Not sure what your practice facilities are like , but for me target setting is quite difficult for longer shots as it is difficult to measure the result.
You can spray the face of your club and measure strike location and try and get 80% with good contact.

Putting is fairly easy to set a target. 10 3 footers in a row will test your holding out.
Then for long putts test at 15,25,35 and 35 feet and aim to get them in a circle of 10% of their starting distance.

Short game try and score up and downs with three chips three pitches and three bunker shots and call it par 27.
 

Slab

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Cheers for replies

I'm lucky that the practice facilities are very good, 2 large putting greens, one mostly flat and the other with slopes, there's a huge short game area with banks/slopes/bunkers, up to 80 yard shots from fairway lies & areas of medium-long rough & a 300yrd range off grass. So I can include all manner of targets for myself

I kinda want to make a 'hard-card' for these challenges and wondered if say 10 x consecutive 3ft putts will be achieved too quickly and not provide the challenge it should

I like that idea for the short game Up & Down par
 

jim8flog

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The questions I would ask are

Are you trying to lower your score or are you trying to improve particular shots.

If the former put the most time in to the short game.

Re your comments and pros Montgomery once said he practiced a particular length of putt trying to achieve 100 in a row if he missed one he a started the count from the beginning. Not that I am suggesting you practice to that extreme.
 

Backache

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Cheers for replies

I'm lucky that the practice facilities are very good, 2 large putting greens, one mostly flat and the other with slopes, there's a huge short game area with banks/slopes/bunkers, up to 80 yard shots from fairway lies & areas of medium-long rough & a 300yrd range off grass. So I can include all manner of targets for myself

I kinda want to make a 'hard-card' for these challenges and wondered if say 10 x consecutive 3ft putts will be achieved too quickly and not provide the challenge it should

I like that idea for the short game Up & Down par
I guess I kind of envisaged a moving target in as much as when you have achieved 10 in a row your next target may be 15 in a row. My general impression from learning theory is that challenges should be reasonably difficult but definitely achievable but you move the challenge as you improve.
Although 10 three footers isn't easy for me particularly if you are on sloping greens and not repeating the same putt.

How about your approach play you try three ball above your feet three ball below your feet three uphill there downhill three shaggy lie three flat lie and try for 75% on a green area at 120 yds.
 

Slab

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I guess I kind of envisaged a moving target in as much as when you have achieved 10 in a row your next target may be 15 in a row. My general impression from learning theory is that challenges should be reasonably difficult but definitely achievable but you move the challenge as you improve.
Although 10 three footers isn't easy for me particularly if you are on sloping greens and not repeating the same putt.

How about your approach play you try three ball above your feet three ball below your feet three uphill there downhill three shaggy lie three flat lie and try for 75% on a green area at 120 yds.

Thanks, I guess I have to decide for my game if xyz might be too easy or not. I don't really want something I can achieve inside an hours practice

So I'm mainly looking for the different drills etc i can use to test myself then apply my own measure to it for my ability. So your up&down challenge is ideal as well as the putting, 10x3ft clockface on the flatish green would likely be knocked off inside an hour so it'll need to be a bit longer, while the same 3ft on the sloped green will be much harder

I'm no single figure player so there's zero point setting drills and measures those players would test themselves on because they'd just be too unrealistic for me
 

Slab

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The questions I would ask are

Are you trying to lower your score or are you trying to improve particular shots.

If the former put the most time in to the short game.

Re your comments and pros Montgomery once said he practiced a particular length of putt trying to achieve 100 in a row if he missed one he a started the count from the beginning. Not that I am suggesting you practice to that extreme.

I'm trying to apply pressure to my practice, to make it mean something. To make it count so that it reflects how I feel on the course trying to get handicap down

I did 20 minutes putting yesterday as part of two hours practice and the confidence & self-assurance I felt as I stood over the ball doesn't reflect conditions when h/cap at stake. I just felt that as good or bad as I practiced it didn't really matter as there was no consequence or rewards, so missing that 2ft or holing the 60ft in practice (both of which happened) have the same value, and I need that to change

So I either need to take the practice mentality to the course (very difficult) or add pressure & meaning to my practice so that I can practice under the same mental conditions as a counting round
 

Backache

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I'm trying to apply pressure to my practice, to make it mean something. To make it count so that it reflects how I feel on the course trying to get handicap down

I did 20 minutes putting yesterday as part of two hours practice and the confidence & self-assurance I felt as I stood over the ball doesn't reflect conditions when h/cap at stake. I just felt that as good or bad as I practiced it didn't really matter as there was no consequence or rewards, so missing that 2ft or holing the 60ft in practice (both of which happened) have the same value, and I need that to change

So I either need to take the practice mentality to the course (very difficult) or add pressure & meaning to my practice so that I can practice under the same mental conditions as a counting round
I think this is a great idea , but in respect to the 10 3 foot putts I would envisage a bit of a warm up and then try and achieve it and go onto a new challenge rather than keep trying to do it for an hour when it becomes a very different challenge. By all means repeat if unsuccessful but only after going away and doing another challenge elsewhere. Keeping on with the same challenge induces mental fatigue and decreases learning.
And you don't have the same edge when you know you can just keep going.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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On the range I focus on deciding the shape of shot I wish to play and after hitting the ball I watch carefully to see whether or not I have executed the shot as intended.

I will also have applied strike spray to the clubface and I then check that to confirm where on the clubface I have struck the ball. I then match up strike with shape and decide what to do next - either to change something to move the strike position (if that is at all hosel side of centre) or to correct the shape (if it was not as I had intended). And repeat.

I am not too worried about the distance I hit any shot as I know my current distance for each club accurately enough (accepting that I will have a fairly high margin or 'error' around any distance)
 

Slab

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I think this is a great idea , but in respect to the 10 3 foot putts I would envisage a bit of a warm up and then try and achieve it and go onto a new challenge rather than keep trying to do it for an hour when it becomes a very different challenge. By all means repeat if unsuccessful but only after going away and doing another challenge elsewhere. Keeping on with the same challenge induces mental fatigue and decreases learning.
And you don't have the same edge when you know you can just keep going.

Thanks. You raise a very salient point. If I miss say putt 8 of 10 from 4ft, I can just start again. Or if I top/slice/hook a 3w trying to hit 5 straight ones in a row, I can just start again

That's my missing edge in my practice

Even if I self-impose a limit of one attempt at each/any practice challenge per day, if it fails... so what I can try again tomorrow with no consequence, whereas there's a very real and immediate consequence to missing a 4ft putt for par/bogey on the first green of a counting round
 

Slab

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On the range I focus on deciding the shape of shot I wish to play and after hitting the ball I watch carefully to see whether or not I have executed the shot as intended.

I will also have applied strike spray to the clubface and I then check that to confirm where on the clubface I have struck the ball. I then match up strike with shape and decide what to do next - either to change something to move the strike position (if that is at all hosel side of centre) or to correct the shape (if it was not as I had intended). And repeat.

I am not too worried about the distance I hit any shot as I know my current distance for each club accurately enough (accepting that I will have a fairly high margin or 'error' around any distance)

Thanks, And what then happens if/when you do strike one off the heel or toe or the shape wasn't what you were going for?
Do you manage to get the same mental approach standing over the same shot on the course to what you did on the range? Where there's no option for strike spray & rinse/repeat

I totally get the striving for the repetitive swing but the odd 'power fade' when trying to hit a draw on the range actually hurts nothing whereas its a very real 'stroke and distance' penalty on the course so practice conditions doesn't match reality

I accept bad shots will happen during a round and can never be totally eliminated and I'm much better at cutting out mental and physical tension than I used to be, but full shot, chip or putt it's still not as 'free' on course as it is during practice
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Thanks, And what then happens if/when you do strike one off the heel or toe or the shape wasn't what you were going for?
Do you manage to get the same mental approach standing over the same shot on the course to what you did on the range? Where there's no option for strike spray & rinse/repeat

I totally get the striving for the repetitive swing but the odd 'power fade' when trying to hit a draw on the range actually hurts nothing whereas its a very real 'stroke and distance' penalty on the course so practice conditions doesn't match reality

I accept bad shots will happen during a round and can never be totally eliminated and I'm much better at cutting out mental and physical tension than I used to be, but full shot, chip or putt it's still not as 'free' on course as it is during practice
I am totally focussed on changing my swing path from almost 40yrs of strong In2Out to Out2In. Difficult.

My coach has got me visualising and thinking 'fade' every shot, as that will encourage and support the change. I don't worry about hitting one off the toe as that is usually indicative of what I looking to do; if I hit one off the hosel I know that that is down to me trying to manipulate the club and my swing - and my path reverts - and so I must focus on no manipulation and my 'fade' visualisation and thinking.

I have found it difficult moving from range to course - but on the course my shot prep, visualisation and thinking are identical to what I do on the range (albeit maybe a little quicker). As I have now done quite a lot of practice of what I am looking to achieve, I am slowly but surely developing a feel for where on the clubface I strike the ball. This is one thing I have worked on with my coach since day one - in a lesson he asks me after almost every shot 'OK - now where on the clubface did you hit that' and we check - and that is why I use the strike spray on the range - to understand what I am doing.

I also can get a bit stuck over the ball - and to help in that my pro has me playing 'Happy Gilmore' walk up and hit it golf. - which I will do on the course as well as on the range - just to free myself up and swing more 'dynamically'. My playing companions find it amusing when I play that way :love:

And finally - sorry it's been a bit long - if on the range or course I hit a draw when I am trying to hit a fade - I am aware that it is not what I wanted to do - and though on the course I'll accept a good outcome, I don't kid myself that I had that much to do with it.
 

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I used to set a minimum target for each criteria. Looking at your driver length. 210yds would be a zero, and 10yds either side of the centre line would be a -1, 20yds would be a -2. An extra 10yds distance is a +1, and an extra 20yds is a +2. Similarly with your other targets, set + & - targets. Pin high would be a +5, short is -2 per yard but long is only +1 per yard. You can do something similar for putting but I used to play positive numbered balls against negative numbered balls, matchplay scenario, with 4 balls.

I’m sure you get the gist. Tailor it to suit what you want.
 

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To give an edge, set an achievable challenge.
For instance 10 X 3 foot putts if that's something you're fairly confident with.

But then set a penalty for failing the challenge of having to pay a sum of money to a charity.

Depending on the figure you've set you can vary the pressure felt, you might find yourself out of pocket by a good amount but think of the good you're doing to both your pressure play and the charity! :D
 

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We are all different but I never did what you are thinking about.

If my putt doesn't go in, so be it.
If the ball doesn't fly straight, so be it.
I just enjoyed practicing.
You may enjoy putting pressure on yourself.

But at the end of the day, it's just a game, a hobby, a past time. Not even the best in the world get it right all the time.
Just go out, enjoy the excercise, the scenery and the company.
A wise man once said "don't forget to smell the flowers.
 

CountLippe

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a good one for short game is 8 shots the same from the same spot for the following 8 tasks. Score 4 points for holed, 2pts for 1 club length, 1 point for 2 club lengths, nowt for anything else.

1. 5 yrd chip
2. 10 yrd chip
3. 15 yard chip
4. bunker shot
5. 30 yard pitch
6. 50 yard pitch
7. flop shot
8. 20 yard shot form the junk.

for the chip shots alternate between rough and fairway each session, ie odd numbers rough even numbers fairway and between high and low. Takes 30 minutes. Record your scores. try and beat your record.
 

abjectplop

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Tee shots/approach shots - Pick 4 clubs and hit 20 shots to a target (changing club every shot). Write down approx. how many yards you miss the target either left or right on each shot. Remove the 2 worst outliers, then add up the 18 remaining yardages which is your score (the lower the better!). Try to beat it next time to improve your dispersion. You can do this with D/3W/Hybrid/4 iron, and also with irons, e.g. 6/7/8/9 and have a scoring target for each set of clubs.

Short game - try the Dave Pelz short game test detailed here. You can do it all or just elements of it and keep a score. Repeat it as many times as you like and try and beat your previous scores.

Putting - play 18 holes of simulated putting. Write down 18 random putt distances e.g. 40', 3', 18', 54', 9' etc and play as if you're on the course. Score as low as you can, and compare your results over time.
 

Slab

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Thanks for the extra comments, I'm away from laptop just now so I'll reply properly when I get time to read them in full ....

Keep them coming please
 

Albo

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I did a drill where I had to hole 25 3ft putts from 4 points round the hole, first 12 clockwise last 13 counter clockwise. Sounds easier than it is and after a while of getting to 10-15 and failing when you hit 18/20 you really start to feel some pressure to get over the line. Failed way more times that I succeeded at that, but it means I don’t fear 3ft< putts any longer.
Another good drill is taking 3 balls and putting them in 9 different spots each round the green, easy, medium and hard up/downs, as a 15 hci I’d suggest you want to beat 22 over par (par being up and down with each ball) with all 3 sets of balls combined. You need to judge what easy medium and hard mean to you, but if you are good out of bunkers maybe take some that are downhill towards the back of the bunker as hard and up towards the face with elevation already there as easy. Maybe chip over a bunker to a short sided pin as a hard chip shot etc
 
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