How to Practice Like a Tour Player
John Elliott, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher
You go through a bucket of range balls like a wave of locusts through a cornfield.
When you beat balls at a machine-gun pace you're not helping your game much. You need to set up to the ball correctly every time, and also take the time to follow through completely, study your ball flight and landing patterns, and then decompress and get ready for the next shot. In other words, you need to practice like you play.
How to do it
Watch Tour players on the driving range. Most pros follow a six-step procedure that takes them from ball to ball in a deliberate, measured way that mimics how they approach each shot on the golf course. If you mimic that procedure, you're guaranteed to become a better ball striker.
2 of 8Angus Murray
Tip over a bucket of balls and, with your club in your right hand, pull a ball out of the pile and drag it over to a spot where you can hit it.
3 of 8Angus Murray
Stand behind your ball and pick your target. Step into address first with your right foot and then with your left while glancing at your target.
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Once you're comfortable in your address position and have visualized your target line, waggle the club once or twice to loosen your wrists, and then swing away.
5 of 8Angus Murray
Make a complete, balanced swing so that you're facing the target and most of your weight is on your left foot. Study the flight of your ball, and stay in this position until it has landed.
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As the ball comes to a stop, remove your right hand from the grip and allow the club to slide down the fingers of your left hand until it feels light and balanced in your hand.
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Now "present" the handle of the club to your right hand, release your left hand, and go back to the first step. Now you're practicing like a pro!
8 of 8Robin Griggs
1: Shoulder stretch
With both arms straight out from your sides, briskly make 10 "safe" calls like an umpire. This loosens your shoulders so you can trace a wider swing arc.
2: Side stretch
Grab the rail that holds up the cart roof and lean your butt away from the cart. Hold for a few counts, then turn and stretch your other side. Now you can rotate fully on your backswing.
3: Leg stretch
Bring your right ankle across your left knee (use your driver for balance) and hold it there with your left hand. Squat down in an invisible chair, sit for a few counts, then reverse the process. This gets your legs ready to add power.
Top 100 Teacher
Woodley Lakes GC,
Van Nuys, Calif.
Special Section: The Tune Up:
• Special Section Home Page: The Tune Up
• Anthony Kim: Hit straighter drives
• Sergio Garcia: Make pure contact on irons
• Adam Scott: Build your dream swing
• Dr. Dick Coop: Out think opponents
• Aaron Baddeley: An exercise that adds power off the tee
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