There’s a big difference between how pro and amateur golfers practice

September 11, 2019

I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it, and it’s one of the main things holding you back from playing better golf: You’re practicing wrong.

Studying how professional golfers practice has long been a pet fascination of mine. It’s something I write about often — from Dustin Johnson to Jordan Speith; Zach Johnson to Tiger Woods — and I always keep an eye on various players’ routines whenever I’m at a Tour event. And whenever I do, I’m always surprised at how different their practice sessions look.

The below graphic is anecdotal, based on various interviews with mid-range handicaps and reporting on other players routines, but it’s illustrative of the difference — something GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sean Foley described during our recent interview:

“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.”

Using a 50 ball warm-up session as a guideline, average golfers tend to work their way evenly throughout their bag, with a particular focus on mid-irons. Pros on the other hand, seem to focus far more on wedges and drivers — two of the most important clubs in the bag. They work on hitting lots of different shots with their wedges, and different shot shapes with their driver.

So use the below as a guideline the next time you’re on the range. Focus on your scoring clubs, and maybe hit a few less 7-irons…