“Having a great golf swing helps under pressure but golf is a game about scoring. It’s like an artist who can get a two-inch brush at Wal-Mart for 20 cents or a fine camel-hair brush from an art store for 20 dollars. The brush doesn’t matter – how the finished painting looks is what matters.” – Jerry Pate
By Ian Hardie
In the post Stop practicing your bad golf shots – part two! I suggested something to you that was the exact opposite of what ‘every golfer thinks they should do’ to improve their golf game
And you probably thought ‘Wow, he’s really lost his mind this time – what a cuckoo!’
Because every golfer ‘knows’ that if you are looking to improve your golf game
The best way to do it is by heading out to the practice area to practice ‘your bad shots’ in an effort to ‘get rid of them’ and balance your game up
It’s what you would logically expect to be the right way to improve your golf game
Interestingly enough – it isn’t actually the most effective way of improving your golf and in actual fact if it’s done poorly and often enough
‘Practicing bad shots’ for hours on end in an effort to get rid of them, can also be a big contributor to big golfing problems like ‘the shanks’ and ‘the yips’
So personally, I’d suggest that you don’t do that ‘practicing my bad shots’ thing at all
In fact I’d even go as far as saying that you really should consider doing the exact opposite
But don’t just take my word for it – have a look at the image at the start of this post
It’s an email I received recently from a golfer called Dave who wrote:
I’ve been following your blogs for a few months now but this particular one really caught my attention.
I thought that can’t be right, stop practicing your bad shots and instead focus more on your strongest area?
Surely my weaker areas would remain weak or maybe get even worse if I didn’t try to improve them.
I’d say on balance, the strongest area of my game is chipping, having an average of 36% for getting up and down (or 1 in 3).
This isn’t a guess by the way, I have an app that records my stats.
The issue I had was many of my chips were left in, ‘that range’, 4 to 6 six feet.
Many of the subsequent putts in this area were missed causing great frustration!!
So I frequently practiced putting in this range but nothing really changed scoring wise, compounding the frustration!
Now, as you are a pro and I’m a humble 10 handicapper, I put your theory to the test.
During December, I have only practiced chips using my 7 & 8 iron from the fringe and 52/56/60 degree wedge from further out (plus bunkers as well).
I practiced nothing else.
I have managed to get 10 rounds in from 2nd December to 20th December and my up and down ratio has improved from 36% to 51% (I think you said 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, so not too far off that).
The amount of chips left stone dead or 4 feet and under has risen dramatically.
The funny thing is a lot more of the 4 footers are dropping in the hole, so it seems this a side effect of practicing my main strength (Interested to know your thoughts on this, a confidence thing perhaps?)
The average score for all ten rounds was 6 over par (or 4 under my handicap).
So in conclusion, this test certainly worked for me!
How about that for a real life example of just how powerful what I’m suggesting is?
‘Maybe Ian isn’t quite as cuckoo as I first thought he was’ – I hear you thinking
Dave is certainly fairly impressed with his results over those 10 rounds and if you think about them in practical terms – an average of six over par per round when matched up against his ten handicap that he started with – means that by following my suggestions for only a month he got fairly close to halving his handicap (depending on the other scores that make up his index of course)
Simply by working on the strengths of his game and ignoring the weaknesses
Now, I was at this point going to give you one more reason why practicing your good shots and ignoring your bad shots is an incredibly powerful thing to do – especially if you happen to suffer from either ‘the shanks’ or any form of ‘the yips’
But I think that Dave’s email will have inspired you to head out and try what I have been suggesting – if you haven’t already done so
So over the next few weeks – make some time when you can head to your practice area and instead of spending a lot of time and energy focusing on your bad shots
Spend the same amount of time and energy focusing on making your good shots spectacularly good just like Dave did!
Then let me know how much it has helped you by sending me a message here