Perfect Your Practice, Improve Your Results

Perfect Your Practice, Improve Your ResultsWe can all agree that in this great game, perfection is simply unattainable. There are a million and one variables involved in this sport. However, the pursuit of perfection in your practice habits may very well make you more consistent, and consistency is the second most frequent request we hear from my students (right behind “I want to hit it farther!”).

In 1998 Jack Nicklaus said “You don’t have to hit the ball long and perfect. You have to hit the ball long enough and in play.” So, let’s look at some ways to help make your practice time more beneficial so your ball is consistently long enough and on the short grass. Below are a few very important tips to help you maximize your return on investment.

Perfect Your Practice, Improve Your ResultsSet up a “Practice Station”. Your goal in full swing practice is to put an accurate label on why your ball is not going where you want it to, and in order to do that, you need to eliminate as many variables as possible. If you see a consistent pattern of shots landing to the right (or left) of your intended target, you need to rule out the possibility that you are actually aimed to the right (or left) of the target.

Before you hit a single shot, take three longer irons (or the bright yellow or orange “aiming sticks” that you now see poking out of nearly every golf bag on the
Perfect Your Practice, Improve Your ResultsTour) and lay them down in the manner pictured in the photo. Begin your ball striking session with correct alignment from your very first shot and you will begin to ingrain a higher level of target awareness.

Work on your Swing Path/Swing Plane. Cut the had off of a club you no longer need (or get a piece of dowel from Home Depot), stick it in the ground and slide a “pool noodle” down the shaft. If your tendency is to suck the club inside or below plane on the backswing, place the foam obstacle just inside the target line and practice taking the club back and over the noodle.

If you tend to come down “over the top” or above plane, place the shaft just outside the target line and practice coming into the ball from beneath the noodle. The more repetitions you make in a structured practice environment, the sooner thesequence of movements become usable, and more importantly, repeatable on the golf course.

About the Author
PGA Professional Mike Malaska is No. 24 on Golf Digest’s ranking of instructors and is one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100. To arrange a personal session with Mike, call (602) 799.7099 or visit


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