How Nelly Korda’s practice philosophy can help your on-course game
It’s officially major season, and the biggest names in golf are working to make sure their games peak at the right time. Of course, everyone would love if they could play their best all the time, but that’s simply not attainable. Because of this, most players try to get their games to peak a few weeks a year, typically around major season.
That’s not to say players aren’t always grinding away to improve, though. Professional golfers eat, sleep and breathe the game, and a majority of their waking hours are spent perfecting their craft. But there are a variety of ways they go about this, and everyone’s plan looks different.
Some players are range rats, beating balls hour after hour to improve their swings. Others prefer to practice on the course, putting themselves in live situations that test every facet of their game. Each method has its merits, and it’s important to find what works for you.
Before you go about embarking on a practice plan, consider this: practicing your swing and practicing scoring are two different things. As the saying goes, the sport is called golf, not golf swing.
That’s not to say it’s not important to drill your swing on the range. Being technically sound is immensely important to a consistent swing. But if you start thinking about the technique of your swing too much on the course, it could be doing more harm than good. You want to find the correct balance between technical drills on the range and feel-based scoring on the course to optimize your game.
Consider the philosophy of women’s golf superstar Nelly Korda. The No. 2-ranked player in the world arrives at this week’s Chevron Championship looking for her second major title, and as she gets closer to competition, she’s cutting down on the complexity of her practice regimen.
“Just like simple drills that I don’t then bring that to the golf course where I’m not thinking about my swing,” Korda said. “I’m more thinking about executing my shots, and that’s why I tend to try to work on my swing at the beginning of the week and then play a lot towards the end. So then I get into a playing mode where I’m not drilling out on the golf course.”
Having proper technique is key for making solid swings, but you can’t let the quest for the “right” swing get in the way of making the “needed” swing. The scorecard does not care if you come over the top or early-extend in the downswing. The range is the place to work on those flaws, but the course is for shooting the lowest possible scores.
Take a page out of Korda’s book if you want to optimize the balance between the range and the course. Use simple drills and swing checkpoints when you practice, and when you get to the course, get out of your own way and get the ball in the hole.