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Maximize golf practice by changing things up

There were usually a few shots during that last golf outing that will bring you out to the next one – but does your game ever improve? If not, maybe it’s because you continue to take the same approach to practice, repeating the same steps and getting the same golf proficiency – or insufficiency, as it may be.

“When it comes to practice, we often think in terms of time: How many hours are necessary to achieve optimal progress? While this is a valid concern, a more important question is how to make each second count,” said Greg Liberto, a sports performance coach who lives in Buffalo. The best way to process new information it to change things as you go, so he recommends the following approach:

1. Have a strategy “ The No. 1 concept I teach my students is playing golf with a strategy,” Liberto said. A great strategy when you practice: “Make this the best practice session of my life.”

2. Change it up “ Since every shot in golf is different, the same should hold true in practice,” Liberto said. When on the range, change your target, club and lie, as well as the shape of your shot or your grip. “Constant change is what random practice is all about and simulates what happens on the course,” Liberto said.

3. Play a game

Liberto suggests scattering 10 balls within 100 yards from the hole and placing them in the rough, near a tree or in the fairway. “Start with the ball closest to the hole,” he said.

“After you hit the first shot, run to the next one. Running increases your heart rate and takes you out of your comfort zone, similar to how you feel under pressure. As you run from each shot to the next, your goal is to stay focused on hitting your spot and get the ball in the hole.” If you fall short of the green, do 10 push-ups.

Afterward, evaluate your game.

4. Have a goal

“To practice with greater purpose always identify one specific goal you will achieve,” Liberto said. It can be chipping in at least once during practice, making a certain number of putts in a row or changing every shot. Evaluate your golf practice by considering what you learned, where you can most improve and how you will do so.

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