Put Yourself "on the Clock"

Matt Mitchell, PGABy Matt Mitchell, PGA
Teaching Professional,
The Downs Golf Practice Facility

S ummer is fast approaching which means longer days for golf and the opportunity to practice and improve your game. There is much more to practicing than just thoughtlessly swinging away. This season try my approach and you are guaranteed to shoot lower scores.

Begin by studying the scorecard of a regulation par 72 course. Give yourself 36 putts, throw the four par -3 holes out, and you’re left with 14 driving holes. So 50 of the 72 shots are played with a driving club and your putter. You must base your practice on these numbers! Frankly, if you can’t drive it, and don’t putt and chip well, you won’t reach your potential.

When you have an hour to practice, “put yourself on the clock.” What I mean is break up your practice routine into four distinct quarters. The first two quarters, or 30 minutes, should be spent on putting. Half the scorecard is putting, so half your practice should be directed there.

The next 15 minutes should be spent on your short game...hitting chips, pitches, and sand shots. The last 15 minutes should be spent hitting fairway shots and full swings. Hit driver for 12 of the 15 minutes. Driving is approximately 20% of the game so dedicate that same percentage of your practice time to this skill. Remember, if you can’t drive the ball in play, you can’t score.

Finally, go see a respected PGA Teaching Professional for at least three lessons with one lesson each directed toward driving, putting and wedge play and “put yourself on the clock” to success. Matt Mitchell is the 2008 West Central Chapter Player of the Year, Senior Player of the Year and Teacher of the Year. To schedule a lesson, call (813) 854-4946.


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