Get the most out of your practice time with this Top 100 Teacher’s simple advice

A golfer putting on a green

Practice needs a purpose, says Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs.

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If you want to improve as a golfer, there are two important steps to take: one, carve out the time to actually practice. And two, use that time intentionally once you’re there.

Step 2 is where many golfers find themselves a little lost. Once they arrive at the range or practice facility, they may feel aimless, hitting balls here and there, with no real target or plan — ultimately, a waste of precious time and energy.

At GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz., I asked longtime Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs for his best advice on how to design a practice session that will actually result in improvement. Riggs likened golf to soccer, which he has coached for two decades.

“We always have a practice plan,” Riggs said. “And golf should be no different.”

When it comes to practice, organization is key.

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“People can get much better if they could allocate the time properly,” Riggs said. “You need to have a goal when you get to the practice area, whether you’re working on chipping, bunkers, full swing, whatever it is. It should be something quantifiable.”

According to Riggs, the best way to keep yourself accountable during a practice session is to write things down, and find a way to challenge yourself too.

“Whatever you’re working on should have a competitive element to it,” he said. “So, you could use 30 minutes as a warm-up and working on whatever technical things you’re doing, then there should be some sort of migration into competition towards the end so that you’re in full routine and you have a consequence for your shot, you’re keeping score and you’re writing it down.

“If a player did that every session, from putting all the way through the driver, he or she would not only get better technically, but they’d also have something they could take to the course, because they know they have already managed to execute under pressure.”

If you’re still thinking about a golf-related New Year’s resolution, give this intentional-practice method a try. And to read more tips from Brady Riggs, click here.

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As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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