Golf is the game that the world has chosen as its lifetime hobby. In the last few years, I’ve seen an increasing number of women at the practice range. Instead of looking at it as drudgery, women seem to embrace practice. It may be because we are more success and goal oriented or we may just need to relieve a little frustration by pounding some balls. Either way, we need to practice to improve. In this article, I’ve included a game/exercise for putting, chipping, the range, and the full course. Read on.
You should always have practice goals and a practice routine in mind when you head to the range. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while you’re working on your game. Some like to practice alone while others like to have a friend along for encouragement. There are numerous practice games and exercises that can help to improve your game while you practice alone or with friends.
I challenge you to try a couple of these next time you are out on the range. If these are not the games for you, make up your own. It really makes the practice time fly by and will have you looking forward to the next session. You’ll see improvement in your game before you know it (but probably not after just one practice session).
The following are taken from THE GOLFER’S GAME BOOK with well over 200 games and exercises. It can be found at: http://www.restonventures.com.
I believe there are probably a thousand different putting games and exercises. Everyone has a variation or something new to try. That’s a good thing, because putting is probably the most important and most frustrating part of your game. One day it’s there and the next it’s gone! So, it’s very important for us to develop a comfortable putting routine and to practice enough to form a smooth, dependable putting stroke. We also need to have putted enough to be familiar with our stoke and be able to predict the resulting distance.
A good exercise to help with this is one called ‘Overtake’ (Pass The Putt). Go to the practice green but don’t use the holes. Pick a spot about 10 ft. in front of you and try to putt the ball to that spot. You don’t have to hit the exact spot, but the putts that will follow the first one are very important. After the first putt, put down another ball and try to putt it about 3 ft. by the first ball. Repeat this using a total of four or five balls. When you finish, the balls should be lined up about 3 ft. apart. Unless you are already a very good putter, this should take a little practice to perfect.
While making these putts, concentrate on keeping your putting stroke smooth and only changing the length of that putting stroke for each successive putt.
During away tournaments, several of us would meet at the practice area just before dark the night before to sharpen up our putting and chipping. We always ended up with a chipping contest called ‘In The Hat’.
Someone would drop a hat just off the green and everyone would drop in a quarter. The person chosen to go first would put down a tee for a marker and then place a ball near it. Then she would pick a hole to become the target and chip the ball. Someone near the hole would mark the ball and the next person would try to beat that chip. Play would continue until everyone had chipped. The winner would pick up the hat and retrieve the quarters. Then she would take the hat to a new location and the process would start over with everyone dropping in their quarter and the winner picking the new target. You’re chipping should improve rapidly or you will lose a few quarters. (Of course, you could use nickels, dimes, or dollars!)
There are a couple of very good range games, but the one I like most is called ‘Range Challenge’. It can be played by yourself or with a friend.
In this game, you accumulate points so decide ahead of time the value of a point (in case you want to pay off later) and how many points will end the game. Toss a coin or tee to decide who has honors. The player with the honor calls the first shot (the challenge). In order to win a point, the players must successfully complete the challenge shot. If both players are successful, no point is awarded and the first player retains the honor. If only one player is successful, she wins a point. The player winning the point has the honor and calls the next challenge.
There are many challenge shots that you could use, such as, closest to a target, fade, draw, fade or draw to target, hook, slice, wind cheater, long drive, straight drive, etc. You should be creative and when calling a challenge, keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses (and also those of your opponents).
Are you one of those people who think that if they could hit that shot over the result would be greatly improved? (I am.) When practicing on the course by yourself, try playing a ‘Personal Scramble’. Hit two tee shots, pick the better of the two balls, and hit two shots from there. Continue in this manner until a ball is holed. Keep up with how many times you had to pick the second shot over the first one. You can also compare your scramble score to your regular handicap score. You might be surprised.
Try the same thing with a sadistic twist. It’s called a ‘Reverse Personal Scramble’. Follow the same procedure as above except you choose the worst ball each time, not the best. This will emphasize how much trouble you can get yourself into if you’re not careful. It also helps to improve those awkward trouble shots. Your course management should really improve with this one!
May your scores be low and your games be fun!