Building The Right Golf Practice Routine: A How-To Guide

All golfers want to get better in some way or another, but most don’t know how to reach their golf goals.

Reducing your golf handicap starts with building a golf practice routine that is customized for how you play the game.

You need to do more than just smack range balls if you want to improve. You need to practice the right way.

Keep reading and we will cover:

  • Actions to include in your golf practice routine
  • How to document your plans
  • How to consistently execute your golf practice routine

Let’s get started!

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6 Activities That Need To Be In Your Golf Practice Routine

#1: Incorporate Golf Exercises

Tiger Woods is credited with starting the golf fitness movement. He was one of the first professional golfers to hit the weight room.

In the years since Tiger said “Hello, World” golf fitness has become part of all great players’ golf practice routines.

Improving your flexibility and strength will allow you to swing the golf club with more speed and consistency.

The most popular program is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute). You can find a fitness instructor that is certified in TPI.

A TPI-certified instructor will assess your current physical health and design a custom program to help your body better support your golf game.

You can play the game for decades if you take care of your body. Be sure to add golf-specific exercises to your golf practice routine.

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#2: Use Drills To Create Muscle Memory

Golf drills are the perfect way to develop consistent motion. They can help you with all parts of your game (driving, approach shots, chipping, putting, etc.).

The question for most players: what drills should I perform to help my game?

The best answer is to find a golf instructor and schedule a lesson. They will assess your game and provide you with golf drills that you should try.

More of a “DIY” golfer? That can work, too.

Determine the problem areas in your game. Do you fight a slice or a hook? Does putting hold you back?

Research golf drills for your specific issues and add them to your golf practice routine.

Always work on your drills at the driving range and/or the putting green. Don’t try them while you are playing on the course.

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#3: Include Plenty of Short Game Time

Don’t forget about putting and chipping when building your golf practice routine.

We recommend the 50/50 rule. Spend half of your practice time on your short game.

Putting alone can make up almost 50% of your score. Learning to be a consistent putter is the quickest way to improve your scoring average.

It may be more fun to crush drivers on the driving range, but scratch golfers know the secret. Putting and chipping is how you win at the game of golf.

Be sure to include all facets of your short game in your golf practice routine.

For putting work on short, medium, and long putts. For chipping try different shots and different clubs. Everything from a bump-n-fun to a flop shot.

Don’t forget about the sand traps. Spend a little working on your bunker shots as well.

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#4: Invest In Your Ball Striking

No golf practice routine would be complete without time on the driving range perfecting your swing.

The range is the perfect place to try new things and focus on your golf drills.

Every practice session should include some time hitting balls. The great thing about the driving range is you can hit full golf shots with no consequences. No one is keeping your score.

If you hit a bad shot, shake it off and try again.

Work your way through your entire bag. Spend time on short irons, long irons, fairway woods, and your driver.

Try playing games. Stick with your 7-iron until you hit five quality shots in a row.

Visualize your favorite course and play it shot by shot. Hit your driver and estimate the club you would have into the green.

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#5: Spend Extra Time From 100 Yards

We call this the scoring zone. You are inside 100 yards to the pin and it is time to hit one of your wedges (pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, or lob wedge).

100 yards and in is what separates great golfers from hackers. Learn to play this “zone” well and the sky is the limit.

Spend more time on your wedge game than your driver. It may seem counterintuitive but it will improve your scores.

This is the element of a golf practice routine that is most frequently excluded.

#6: Add Course Work To Your Golf Practice Routine

One of the biggest challenges to golfers trying to improve can be taking your practice to the golf course.

It can be harder to make a confident swing when your drive might go out of bounds and cost you two strokes. It is much easier to swing freely on the driving range.

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With this in mind, we recommend you include some golf course time in your golf practice routine.

The best way to practice on the course is to play 9-holes by yourself. Don’t worry about keeping score, simply focus on trying to execute golf shots.

Play two balls to get more repetitions. If you hit a poor shot, drop another ball and try it again. You want to get comfortable playing holes.

Document Your Golf Practice Routine

Don’t talk about your practice plans. Don’t think about how you are going to get better. Commit to your golf goals.

Document your golf practice routine. The format doesn’t matter but put pen to paper (or type).

Determine how much time you are going to spend each week on your golf game. Hold yourself accountable to the commitments you make.

Your golf practice routine should be a fluid and iterative process. After each session, assess the effectiveness of the program and make changes as needed.

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Attach your practice approach to areas you want to improve. If you want to reduce your number of putts per round, document an approach to achieve that goal.

Did it work? 6 weeks later are you a better putter? Did your number putts per round improve?

The other great advantage of documenting your golf practice routine is that you can easily share it.

If you are working with a swing coach send them your practice plan. They can provide feedback and even make recommendations to strengthen it.

3 Tips For Executing Your Golf Practice Routine

You have determined all of the components you want to include and you have documented your golf practice routine. The only thing left to do is to execute.

This is the hardest and most important step. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.

#1: Be Diligent, Be Consistent

Practice can get old. It is easy to lose focus and skip steps in your practice session. Be diligent and stick to the plan.

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Are you getting tired of the routine? Invite a friend to practice with you.

Turn your golf practice into a competition. Challenge your buddy to a chipping or putting contest.

Any golf practice routine is only as good as the player executing it. Be consistent with your approach and you will see results.

#2: Treat Every Shot Like You’re Playing In A Tournament

This is hard to do – but if you can, focus on every shot during your practice session and you will see much quicker improvement.

When you are hitting balls on the driving range follow the same pre-shot routine you would do on the course. Never rapid-fire shots. Take your time and think about each swing.

While working on your putting, take a moment to read each putt before hitting it. You should be practicing both your stroke and your ability to see the break.

Don’t simply hit chip shots. Bring your putter and work on getting up and down.

Executing your golf practice routine is more about quality than quantity. The last thing you want to do is create bad habits.

You can develop the ability to focus on one shot at a time during practice. This skill will help during your next round.

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#3: Don’t Get Frustrated

Golf is a marathon, not a sprint. Improvement will take time. In the short term, your scores and golf handicap may not decrease.

Your golf practice routine may not immediately produce results, but that doesn’t mean you have the wrong plan.

Be patient and look for small gains. You have been practicing hard on your putting – have you reduced the number of 3-putts per round?

You still aren’t hitting perfect shots, but are your misses better? Golf is not a game of perfect.

The trick to shooting lower scores is not hitting more great shots. It is reducing the negative impact of poor shots.

For example, if your bad drives are now simply going into the rough instead of flying out of bounds, this is a major improvement.

Stick to the routine and enjoy your days practicing golf.

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Next Up, Create Golf Goals And Measure Your Progress . . !

Photo of author
Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +2 handicap.

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