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3 Ways to Practice like a Pro.

3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro.

3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro.

Hi, I’m Mel Sole, Director of Instruction at the Mel Sole Golf School, headquartered at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club in Pawleys Island, SC.  We conduct 1, 2, and 3-day golf schools, hourly golf lessons, and senior golf schools—any golf instruction program your heart desires. Give us a call at 800-624-4653 or 843-237-4993.  We will be happy to book a commuter school or a package that contains accommodations, golf, and golf school.

I think “Practice with a Purpose” was first coined by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson of Vision 54.  I have used it ever since!  Most golfers go to the range to “hit balls” with no real goal or purpose in mind.  Keeping stats of your game will help you figure out which part of your game you should be working on.  Most of the time, I see the good ball strikers hitting balls on the range, and the good putters are on the putting green.  Why?  Because we like to do the things we are good at!  If you are a good putter, go work on the one thing that is the weakest part of your game if you follow 3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro. Then you will absolutely, positively improve your golfing scores!

Golf Blog by the Mel Sole Golf School.

In the article below, David Mackenzie of Golf State of Mind gives us some sound advice on practice!

3 Ways to Practice like a Pro

Do you practice with a purpose? Or so you just hit balls?

 When I get with a new student, one of the first questions I ask is “How do you practice?”

The response is fairly similar and it’s probably not far off how you currently practice. Hitting balls at the range, a few chips and putts, without any REAL purpose.

The aim of this lesson is to at least get you thinking about how you use your valuable practice time and whether it’s actually taking you closer to scoring lower on the golf course. I’ve also got some great practice ideas that have worked very effectively for my students (all levels of player).

Why do we practice golf?

There are 3 objectives that all of us golfers should have in mind when practicing:

  • Building trust in your swing.
  • Making it more difficult than the course.
  • Developing your Technical skills.

#1 is about learning to trust what you already have and increasing your ability to play sensory golf.

This involves hitting as many different shots as you can (to different targets) without thinking about your swing mechanics.

When you’re on the golf course, you’ll need to rely on visualization and feel to play shots successfully. I.e. seeing the trajectory and shape of a shot and trusting your to hit a particular shot.

Become aware of how each shot feels whatever it looks like. There’s so much timing required to hit different golf shots, that it’s impossible to do it by conscious thought. By developing trust in what you have, you ingrain the feel of different golf shots in your subconscious, ready for future recall on the golf course.

You should also go through your pre-shot routine a number of times, so you start to build “faith in your process”, which if you’ve been following my coaching, is the goal for any round.


#2 Make your practice more difficult than your play.

They get into “range mentality” which is knowing that there’s always “the next ball” if the one they’re about to hit is a poor shot, which means each shot has absolutely no consequence.

Effective driving range practice


Unless you’re making your practice as hard as the course is, proving yourself in practice will not translate into success on the course and will typically lead to frustration and disappointment.

I would say this is a big reason for stagnation in handicap reduction in the past 30 years. We need to turn this on its head and make the course easier than practice.

I teach my students that each shot must have a purpose and a consequence and part of your practice session should include games to make golf harder than the actual game.


The more you can practice that unsettling feeling of pressure, the less affected by it you will be on the golf course. You’ll become “more comfortable being uncomfortable”.

One game I’ll have my students play on the range is to create an imagery fairway (or green) to aim at that starts off at 30 yards wide.  If the player can get 5 balls in a row down that fairway, they get to go to the next stage of the game which is a 20 yard fairway (or green).


Once you can successfully get 5 balls down this fairway, you move onto the final level which is a 10 yard fairway.


If you can do this, any fairway you are faced with on the golf course will seem huge and give you a feeling of confidence. Only give yourself one go at this game per practice session.


#3 Speaks for itself, but make sure only a portion of what you do while practicing.

3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro.

Trust in your swing and learning how to play with visualization and feel can make up for any number of technical imperfections on your swing. I would always be sure to work on your fundamentals, especially alignment.


3 Ways to Practice like a Pro.

Touring pros spend 50% of their time on their short game.


Effective putting practice.

The same goes for your putting practice. Spend more time putting to a smaller target and you’ll make the hole seem bigger on the course.

Start with placing 2 tees at hole width just in front of the hole. Make 5 in a row from 5 ft. A golf hole is 4.25 inches wide. Place the 2 tees in front of the hole so that you make a 3 inch wide hole. Make 5 in a row.

If you complete this stage you get to go to the final stage with is a 2 inch width hole. Place the tees inside the hole at 2 inches apart. If you can make 5 into this width hole from 5ft, on the golf course the hole will seem huge and you’ll feel a lot more confident from this key distance.


If you’d like more games like this, I have over 50 in the Golf State of Mind Practice Drills eBook, which you can get for 50% today only using the coupon code PRACTICE15.


Source: Golf State of Mind    David MacKenzie   Mel Sole Golf School.

Pictures: Doug Hay   John Veldboom  Judy Hocking

Thanks for reading – 3 Ways to Practice Like a Pro.  Now go and do it!

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