Good Rules For Practice


Golfer's Guide Instruction by Steve Whidden

There is a saying that “Practice Makes Perfect.” Well, I do not believe in that one. I do, however, believe that “Perfect Practice makes Perfect.”

What is the difference?

Too many people believe that the way to get better is by repetition. Maybe. If the repetition is correct. Just by going out the range to “hit Balls” to “work it out” very seldom helps, and often hurts the students progress.

Usually, all they are doing is grooving, or perfecting an incorrect motion and building stronger and stronger muscle memory, which is harder to fix in the long run.

My advice for Perfect Practice is this. If you are not sure what you are doing wrong, seek out a PGA Professional to put you on the right path. From that lesson, you should come away with some drills to feel the proper motion.

When you get to the range start your practice session doing the drill(s) at half speed. If you are ever doing a drill and cannot “feel” what it is supposed to be feeling like, you have either misinterpreted the information, or chances are you are swinging too hard.

Once you feel the correction you are trying to make, now is when real practice comes into play. And here is how you do it:

For every range ball, you need to act like it is a real shot on the course:

1, Stand behind ball and pick out your target.

2, Walk to the side of the ball, and make a practice swing and rehearse what you are going to do.

3, Walk up to ball, and address it.

4, Hit shot.

5, Evaluate.

You should never have more than one thought at any given time when you are practicing or playing. At this point, play 9 holes in your mind on the range.

For instance, picture the first hole of a course that you play. If you hit driver on that hole, pick out a target on the range to act as the middle of the fairway. Evaluate. If you hit a good drive, what does that leave you usually on that hole for a second shot? Grab that club, pick another target, go through routine, and hit that shot. Evaluate. If you hit it a little fat, you can imagine you would have come up short of the green, grab the club you would use to pitch it up on the green and hit a pitch there on the range.

Now move onto No. 2. Remember, no do over’s, go through routine and play while you practice!

Steve Whidden is a PGA Master Professional, director of instruction and owner of The Steve Whidden Golf Academy at the Rosedale Golf and Country Club. He has been featured on the Golf Channel’s SwingFix segment and was the 2010 Southwestern Chapter of the North Florida PGA Teacher of the Year. He can be reached at 941- 756-0004 or visit


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