How to Take Instruction to the Course

Mike MalaskaBy Mike Malaska
Nicklaus Academies’ World-Wide Director of Instruction

One of the most common questions I get from my students is ‘How do I take my instruction and apply it when I am on the course?’ The key is to make the most of your practice sessions by establishing a focused routine during your practice time, and then incorporate that process into your on-course routine.

To follow is what I encourage my students to repeat for maximum results:

  • Practice Station – First, it is critical that you set up a personal practice station, a practice station that includes aids to establish sight lines for proper and constant alignment. All practice sessions need to be in a controlled environment for maximum focus and involve a confirmed ‘target’ to hit every one of your shots at. As Jack Nicklaus has stated; “Every shot must be hit with purpose” – and that purpose includes a target.
  • Drill – Your instructor should provide you with a specifc drill that will address the swing change you are working on. Drills are essential in giving you ‘the feel’ for what you need to do. If you cannot perform the drill in your practice session, you cannot expect the action to work on the course. As you become proficient in performing the drill, incorporate the drill into your pre-shot routine.
  • On The Course – When you are preparing to hit your shot, practice your drill as you visualize the shot to be hit. When you set-up to the ball, your eyes will naturally relate to the alignment and sight lines you established with your Practice Station. The drill will put you in the correct frame of mind to execute the shot properly.
  • Evaluate Your Results – After each shot, evaluate the outcome – and move on. Did you perform the drill prior to hitting the shot? Was your alignment accurate? Did the ball start down your intended target line? Were you able to control the flight of the ball as you visualized? At the conclusion of your round, determine what you did well and what you struggled with. Based on the answers, you now have a roadmap on what to work on during your next lesson, practice session and warm-up routine.

About the author:
PGA Professional Mike Malaska is ranked #28 in Golf Digest’s ranking of instructors and is one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100. To arrange a personal session with Mike, call 602.790.7099, or visit


Please Share