Not Working With a PGA Instructor
If you are new to the game, you have a lot to learn. You really don’t know where to start. You go to the range and hit balls, but you don’t think you are getting much better or improving your technique in any way. Well.. you are right. You need to be working with a PGA professional instructor.
If you are taking the game of golf seriously at all, and you definitely are because you are reading this article, then don’t make this mistake. Get a pro from the very beginning so that you won’t develop bad habits. I was self taught for the first 2 years, and my swing ended up being a huge mess. It took lots of lessons and hundreds of hours of drills and over exaggerations to fix what I was so used to doing in the golf swing.
In hindsight, I should have gotten a pro from the very beginning, because I knew that I was very dedicated to golf from the start.
The basic guidelines are that you should ask around, take trial lessons, and eventually commit to the one that you trust the most. Don’t forget that this can be a big investment, so try to find the best coach within your budget.
Not Practicing on the Range Correctly
If you are like the majority of all golfers on this planet, you often times find yourself mindlessly hacking balls around at the range.
I challenge you to decide today that you are done doing that. You know in your mind that hitting ball after ball with the same club to the same target makes no sense at all. That’s not how golf works! You would never do that in a real round, so why would we all practice like that? Well, I used to do it too, so I understand. Change how you practice on the range, just once, and you will see why I have never gone back to just banging balls again.
Solution: Next time you go to the range, try one of these different approaches:
- never hit the same club twice in a row
- never hit to the same target twice in a row
- hit a driver/fairway wood, then an iron/hybrid shot, then a wedge, then a pitch shot, then repeat
- use your rangefinder for each shot
- go through a pre shot routine (see here how to build a pre-shot routine today!) before each shot
- play entire golf courses in your head on the range (I call it simulated golf rounds)
When you learn to practice more just like you play, you won’t feel like you can only hit good shots on the range anymore. You know what I am talking about. You think you are hitting it so well on the range, but it’s tough to “carry it to the course”. That’s because you are hitting the same clubs to the same targets again and again on the range. Of course that is going to be easy!
The best method, in my opinion, is the “simulated golf rounds” on the range. This is where you play entire golf courses out on the range. As long as you know the course very well, it is very easy. For example, I start with a nice and easy warm up, and when I am warm, I start my round.
I know the first hole on my home course is a dogleg left par 4. I pick out an imaginary fairway on the range in between two flags. I set up on the range with a driver let it fly. I hit a perfect shot. If I hit a good one on that actual hole, I know I’ll have a pitching wedge left. (Note: if I hit a bad one, left or right, I might have a punch shot to the green).
So, I then find a flag on the range close to that distance. I grab my pitching wedge and hit it. If I miss way left, I try to guess how far I would have to the green. Let’s say I miss my approach shot 30 yards left. I then pick out a short flag, get my lob wedge, and hit a shot about 30 yards away. That hole is now over, and I go to hole #2. I skip putting, as that would be pointless. I try to repeat this for all 18 holes.
The goal of simulated golf rounds is to turn the range into the most course-like environment as you can. This is only for when you aren’t working on swing changes or warming up, by the way.