What does Goldilocks have to do with golf? Read on to discover four tactics for learning fast and enjoying the game.
Get the Air Miles in
You can't possibly expect to know where your swing is strong or weak until you get thousands of shots in. It's simple, all you need to do is get yourself down to the golf club. Play the rounds of golf. Get more golf shots under your belt. You will build an understanding of where you need to improve your game.
Practice on grass
The real game will be played on grass. Why would you practice on any other surface? The driving range is a synthetic material. It's nothing like grass. It doesn't respond to the club in the same way. It's mad to adapt your body to the response of the synthetic surface, then head out to the club at the weekend and expect it to feel the same.
Practice on grass. Practice where you will play.
At the amateur level, 99% of your golf will be played without a coach or caddy to guide you.
You need to learn how to diagnose your own shots. Understand the fundamentals that impact the success of a golf shot:
- The angle of the club face
- Where on the club face you strike the ball
- How much grass/ground to take
- Swing speed
- Swing path
- Swing length
Once you know these variables, try changing them on purpose. Yes - you should deliberately try to play a bad shot. Take too short a swing, and see the impact. Try to strike the ball at the very bottom of the club face. Try to hit it at the very top. Take too much grass. Take no grass.
Once you see how these factors impact the shot, you can start to diagnose what is going wrong once you are out playing on your own.
You're the only person that will always be at every single round of golf that you play. You need the to capability to self-diagnose what is going wrong with your game. You'll struggle to enjoy the game if you get caught in a loop of bouncing between bad golf and paying a pro for feedback once you're off the course.
Too far, too short, just right - or the Goldilocks method to short game practice
This little trick will allow you to accelerate your learning massively. Let's say you are 10 yards away from the pin practising your chipping.
You have two options:
- Sit there and make 3 attempts at getting close to the pin
- Juts like Goldilocks - try out something too small, too big, and something just right. Aim your first shot to come up short, play your second shot to overshoot the pin, and then play your third shot to be somewhere in the middle
With the first method, you won't learn anything new after each shot.
With the second method, you have attempted something different with every shot. Each shot will provide you with new information, and start to build your knowledge of how much effort it takes to get a ball a certain distance.
Too far, too short, just right. Use it in practice.
The ideas here have all been picked up while I have been a part of the Wimbledon Common Golf Club Academy, which is run by their Golf Pro Charles Sandison-Woods.
The academy is a ten lesson structure that is designed to take you from zero golfing knowledge to ready to go out and play on the course with mentors.
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