Monday, July 16, 2012

some practice ideas

I played what I'm calling the "fairway game" for the first time yesterday at a local course. Basically, at each tee I'd whack 5-10 balls, then go pick them all up and head to the next hole, keeping a log of how many fairways hit vs. missed. (For par 3 holes, I'd count the ball as being "on the fairway" if I got the ball on the green or on the fairway-type cut in front of the green.) So in 9 holes, I hit 55 tee shots, and got a whopping 18 of those 55 shots on the fairway. That's less than 33%. Normally, I would've expected something closer to 50%, but I don't know, I just wasn't feeling the swing yesterday. So I've set the bar low for next time :-)
I've generally been wanting to focus practice on long game -type shots recently, as I think that's the weakest part of my game... mainly because I lose so many balls with the longer shots, and the penalties add up. Another few long game practice ideas:
  • Tee-to-green shot count: For each hole, how many shots necessary to get on the green from the tee? In other words, this is like normal golf minus putting. The hole is done once we’re on the green. This would probably be a 2-baller, maybe 3 if it’s not a busy day at the course.

  • Green-in-regulation game: Same as tee-to-green count, but balls are dead once a Y/N is determined for GIR. So, eg, on a par 4 hole, each ball is hit a max of two times. If it’s on the green in two, that’s a Y for GIR, else, N. This could probably be a 3-baller.

  • Approach-only GIR game: Make every hole effectively a par 3. In other words, begin par 4 and 5 holes on the fairway with 100-200 yards to the pin. One shot to the green per ball. Count up the number of balls that end up on the putting surface. This could probably be a 5-10 baller, depending on how badly I’m spraying that day.

Of course, there always the driving range, as well. If I could find a driving range with green-like targets, that’d be awesome.

One overall goal here is trying to figure out shot distribution per club type. Mainly so you know which club to use when, and how hard to swing that club. But then you can track that distribution over time to (hopefully) see improvement… ideally it gets more and more focused/narrow.

As an example, say time/resources were no object… on a 120-yard par 3 hole, shoot 100 balls off the tee and then go measure each ball’s birds-eye-view X/Y location in feet vs. the pin (where, say, a coordinate of [-5,+20] means 5 feet left of and 20 feet behind the pin). Plot that distribution. Then, at some later date, do that shot test again to see if your distribution has narrowed (it’d be great to have the same pin placement, but that’s unlikely). But, obviously, finding the time/resources to do that sort of thing is hard, so we do what we can with what we have.

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