Jason Day Forced Himself to Practice His Short Game, and So Should You
I am the first person to tell you that you shouldn’t be trying to copy professional golfers if you are trying to improve your game. In fact, it was mistake #42 in my book 101 Mistakes All Golfers Make.
Pro golfers are on a completely other level than us recreational players, but I do believe there are a few things we can take away from their approach to the game. Recently there was an article in the New York Times about Jason Day that I wanted to share with all of you. I was particularly excited because it’s entitled, “Pro Golfers Know Working on Short Game Goes a Long Way.”
Any reader of this site knows that I am a huge proponent of every golfer devoting more of their practice time to the short game because I believe you can impact your scores greatly in this area.
It’s Not Fun
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I always have to force myself to work with my wedges and putter during a practice session. I’m no different than many of you; I love to hit my longer clubs (especially the driver) and watch the ball sail through the air. However, I know that if I want to keep improving that I need to put in the work on my short game.
The best player in the world is no different. In this article Day admits that he loves smashing his driver during practice sessions (who wouldn’t if you could hit it 350!), but that in order to improve he had to focus on his weakness, which was his short game:
“The hard thing about trying to improve something like that when it is one of your weaknesses is to actually get up and do it, because it really sucks trying to work on weaknesses at the start,” he said. “But as you slowly do it over time, it gets better and better and better, and then becomes a lot more exciting.”
This pretty much sums up why most golfers don’t invest any time on their short game, and pros can be the same. It’s just not as fun as hitting your driver, but if you are serious about lowering your scores you simply can’t ignore this part of the game.
You can hit your driver at most 14 times during a round of golf. For a golfer struggling to break 100 or 90 they can use their wedges and putter as many as 50 to 70 times.
If you put almost no practice time in with those clubs you are leaving a huge hole in your game.
Put in the Smart Work
I also recently came across an anecdotal story on social media by someone who had been watching Jason Day prepare for this season on a course in California. He said that not only did Day spend hours in the short game area, but that his focus on every single shot was tremendous. He went through his routine before every single ball, and his intensity was no different than if you were watching him during a tournament.
Jason Day is the best golfer in the world right now, and he is on a mission to become one of the best golfers who ever played the game. I am not suggesting that you spend 4-5 hours a day working on your short game with the intensity of a major champion. However, there are a couple of things you can take away from this article and the description of Jason’s practice sessions:
- If the best golfer in the world has taken it upon himself to make his short game a priority in his practice sessions despite his desire to smash his driver, it might be a good idea for you to try it out also.
- When you practice, don’t just mindlessly hit balls. Put some pressure on yourself and try to give each shot meaning. Play a game like this.
Here is a link to the full article, give it a read.
I hope it inspires you to devote just a little bit more of your time to the short game. It might not be fun at first, but as you start seeing improvement and you gain more confidence in these shots on the course, your entire golf game will improve.