Get Your Tempo Before the First Tee Through Routine Preparation Most of the golfers that I have had the pleasure of working with as a PGA Professional have heard the statistics, because I never neglect to tell them. TOUR players spend 60% or more of their time practicing their short game, while amateurs spend less than 20%. So why do we all get so hung up on the swing itself? Think about the last round of golf you played… My guess is you arrived just early enough to make a few swings (“hit a few balls”) on the practice range, get over to the putting green, dig through the bag and roll a few putts before you were called to the tee. Sound familiar? I thought so, but don’t worry, I’m here to help. The following “routine” will enable you to practice your short-game before your next round of golf, whether it’s at your country club or the nearest public facility. On the day you play, plan to arrive 30 – 40 minutes early to allow yourself time to prepare. If you arrive to the tee in a rushed frame of mind, that will carry over into your round and it make take you several holes to get it together. Start your practice session with a few “easy tempo” chip shots at the short game area. Try to chip the ball close enough that you would feel comfortable grabbing your putter and tapping the ball in the hole. Your “tap in zone” will vary with your putting confidence. If the course you’re playing does not have a short game area, ask the golf shop if you are allowed to chip to the putting green. If this is not allowed, simply hit a few chip shots on the range. Using your sand wedge and making a short swing, hit your first shot and see where it lands. Make another swing, slightly longer, and carry the 2nd ball past the point where the first ball landed. Repeat this “climb the ladder” drill for 8 or 10 shots, each one going just a bit farther than the last. Once you’ve attained your goal, getting up & in on the chipping green, or “climbing the ladder”, then you’re done with that…move on to the range for some full swings. Take out your favorite mid iron, say your 7-iron and repeat the tempo from the chipping drill you just completed. “Climb the ladder” again with this club to ensure you have the same tempo. Use this feeling for the rest of your day. Before leaving the range, hit NO MORE THAN 4 drives with the club you will use on the 1st tee, again, feeling the same tempo as before. The above process should only take about 15 of the 30 to 40 minutes you have allowed yourself, so now it’s time to head over to the putting green. Now here’s where we are going to break the “same old – same old”. USE ONLY 1 GOLF BALL! After all you only get on ball each hole on the course, right? So then, let’s practice like we are going to play – One Shot at a Time. Stroke a few putts to get the speed of the greens and then use the following drill. Using that one golf ball, putt from one hole to the next trying to make no more than a ‘2’ for each attempt. This will help you with the speed of the greens and also help you reduce the number of 3-putts on the golf course. Once you’ve made it around the green using just one ball, attempt five or six 3-footers with your goal being that you make them all. Now you’re ready to play. Your tempo is good, you didn’t hit too many balls with your driver and you saw your last several putts go in the hole. Following the above “routine” will enable you to enjoy practicing your short-game more because you’re making a game out of practicing and you won’t get bored just rolling 3 balls at a time or hitting rapid-fire range shots. For more tips to help you enjoy the game, keep reading Ohio’s Golf Magazine and seek out your local PGA Professional. We have committed ourselves to you and to Growing the Game. Yours in Golf – Cody W. Morse, PGA Cody W. Morse is the Assistant Golf Professional at Stone Oak Country Club in Holland, Ohio. He turned professional in 1999 and has been a PGA member since 2007. In his short tenure, Cody as already earned several awards and held PGA positions: 2009 PGA of America President’s Plaque Winner – Northern Ohio Section PGA 2009 Top 50 Kids Teachers U.S. Kids Golf – Honorable Mention 2008 – 2009 Growth of the Game Chairman – Northern Ohio Section PGA 2008 – 2009 Secretary & Tournament Chairman– Toledo Chapter PGA 2006 & 2008 Toledo Chapter PGA Assistant Profes sional of the Year In addition to his golf career, Cody is married to wife Julie and, together, have five children, sons Matt (26) & Jarred (16) , daughters Jennifer (23), Jessica (14) & Madison (9). His outside interests include football, volleyball, and music. Cody can be reached at email@example.com
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