GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sean Foley has spent a lot of time studying the practice habits of elite athletes in a variety of sports. He’s observed the intense preparation of U.S. Navy SEALs, perhaps the most well-trained outfit in the world. But he began to notice that none of what he learned seemed to have trickled down to the recreational ranks.
“Golfers go to the range, hit a bunch of 7-irons with no wind and then wonder why they don’t improve on the course,” Foley says. “It’s because they’re not practicing the same skills.”
But help is on the way, via one of Foley’s star students (and, as of this writing, the number- one-ranked player in the world), Justin Rose.
Pay close attention to Foley and Rose on the range. You might notice that Foley organizes Justin’s practice balls in a very specific order: Four batches of 10 balls, arranged in triangles, all pointing to a target (illustration, below). “Each batch represents a different purpose,” Foley explains. “There’s a goal for each set.”
The first batch indicates a technical focus, for when Justin’s practicing drills and positions. When he gets to the next batch, his focus shifts to shot-shaping and controlling trajectory. The third batch is for speed development, and the fourth is for implementing his full routine. The beauty of this method is that it points you toward tangible objectives in all areas of your game. And as Rosie will attest, it’s a lot more fun than just beating balls.