We can spend a ton of our time on the range, but I think a golfer can eventually reach a limit on how much they can improve on that kind of practice. I wrote an article about how I think being on an actual golf course is important, because a large part of playing well is being comfortable out there.
There is one kind of practice that I feel can really accelerate your progress, and it happens on the actual golf course. I have found that throwing a few balls down on the course during your walk can give you a ton of mental feedback that you need.
The pros always have special access to the course before the tournament, and you will see them spending time on different parts of each hole practicing their putting, chipping, or other wedge play.
The hardest part for us amateurs is actually finding the time, and the course to do it on. For me it can really only happen on a weekday, either really early in the morning, or just before dusk. Those are the times that my golf course is usually empty, so I can get out there and not worry about running into other golfers.
If you can find a similar situation for yourself I think this is a great opportunity to get out there, and not worry about your score at all. Take about 3-4 balls, and work on all kinds of different shots. My favorite is to play different wedge distances from 100 yards and in, and then do some chipping.
There is a guy at my course who is one of the better amateur players in the area, and has been for about 20 years. I always see him doing this kind of work out there, and he’s generally the only one. It’s not a coincidence.
So I just started to copy him!
You can only do this kind of practice if you are by yourself, or with another player who is trying to do the same. Of course if you see anyone behind you, make sure you are not holding them up, or perhaps waive them through.
I’ve walked 9 holes in about 60-90 minutes, and have probably practiced about 100 different shots along the way. I think it’s well worth your money, and you will get a bit more confidence next time you are out there because you feel like you have played the shot before.
Also I find it quite refreshing to be out there and not worrying about your score at all. It’s quite fun.