Personal best scores on different golf courses and changes in your handicap (if you have one) are measures of your progress. Every time you improve your best score or lower your handicap you experience a sense of self satisfaction. The more of these small wins you have, the greater your motivation to continue to experience them.
For most players, practice means little more than improving swing technique. While this is a critical part of overall golf improvement, it should only be part of your overall development plan.
When you are practising on your own, the feedback you get is either through ball flight or the feel of contact with the club face on the ball. If you videotape your swing, or better still have your coach watching you and providing feedback, then you can monitor your improvement more objectively than just through the feel of contact.
Measuring your progress in training is a great way to provide motivation for practice and learning. Many golfers shy away from doing competitive drills in practice which is hard to understand as they are prepared to measure themselves when they go on the golf course. Measuring your progress in practice and seeing improvement is a great source of justifiable confidence, which definitely transfers to the golf course.
The best types of competitive training drills are those which
- Provide a score and a challenge.
- They should also be designed so that no matter how good you become, there is always room for improvement.
- The maximum possible score for the drill is highly unlikely to ever be achieved, even for the best players.
If you do training drills like these, then you will be endlessly challenged, just like you are on the golf course.
A great example of this type of drill is one designed by English coach Graham Walker. It is a distance control putting drill.
- Set tees in the green at 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 feet from the hole.
- Place a tee 1 foot (30 cm) in front of the hole and another tee 2 feet (60 cm) behind the hole.
- Putt three balls each from 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 feet.
- Scoring for the drill: 3 points if the putt is holed; 2 points if the ball finishes past the hole, but short of the tee positioned 2 feet behind the hole; 1 point if that ball finishes short of the hole but past the tee 1 foot in front of the hole.
In total you will hit 15 putts with the maximum possible score of 45 points. Any score over 30 for this drill is considered very good.
Are you currently doing drills that meet the criteria above? If so, please email a description of them to me.