PGA Pro Tips: Stop Fixing Your Swing. Start Training For Results
The one thing golfers value above all else is consistency. Yet when they practice they often achieve the exact opposite. If you want to improve your consistency - and your scores - it is vital to understand the difference between practice and training and to adjust your range time accordingly.
We like to think of the difference this way: you practice to change; you train for consistency.
If you want your swing to improve, you practice.
If you want your scores to improve, you train.
When you go to the range to “fix” your swing you are practicing. Working on making a change. And while we always want to be improving our swing, at some point you need to be able to get the ball in the hole.
We know change is difficult. It takes time and effort to create a new habit strong enough to replace the old habit. And almost by definition when you are making a swing change your swing is in flux. In other words, inconsistent. Sound familiar?
When you train, on the other hand, your primary focus is on results. It doesn’t matter how you improve your results: only that you do improve.
For example, we ask our Academy students to see how many time out of 10 they can sink a 6-foot putt. If they make six we set a goal to make seven. When they make seven we set a goal to make eight.
We call this “leveling up”, a concept familiar to online gamers. When you level-up in an online game it means you have reached a new skill level. More options and opportunities open up to you. Leveling-up in golf works the same way. You’ll be more skilled, you’ll have more options when you play, and your scores will improve by leveling-up.
The basic idea behind level-up training is to set performance goals: how many times out of 10 you can reach or improve upon an objective. You can set performance measures for any club or shot by focusing on directional accuracy, center contact, distance control, and even shot shape consistency. Two that we use most often on the range are driver accuracy (how many times they hit a 30-yard wide fairway), and distance control (how many times plus or minus 5 yards from a 100-yard target).
The smart way to spend your range time is to devote 2/3rds to training and 1/3rd to practice. Switching to more emphasis on training will make your range time a lot more enjoyable, especially as your scores drop.