How often do you think about the way you practice your game?
For GOLF Top 100 Teacher Matt Killen, it’s a daily exercise. And what drives him crazy is when he sees amateur golfers — the golfers who most need to think about how they practice the most — approach it flippantly.
“When I go the the driving range, I see so many people who don’t have a plan,” he says. “You can’t master every part of the game with an hour on the range.”
At the GOLF Top 100 Teachers Summit at Pinehurst late last year (which you can watch in full on InsideGOLF right here) Killen, who has worked with Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and others, delved into the specifics of how he helps his students practice.
In a nutshell, Killen says there are three different kind of practice: Mechanical, warm-up, and performance practice. They each help you improve specific areas of their game, and none is better than the other. But mixing and matching can be counterproductive
“What bothers me is when golfers mix all these different types of practice,” he says. “You need a plan for each.”
To illustrate his point, he shared a practice plan that he devised for one of his PGA Tour players. The level of specificity was immediately apparent.
The column on the right is technical practice — drills designed to improve your technique. Those are pretty self-explanatory. It’s the left column that I find particularly fascinating. Those are the performance practice drills he had his player run through, and they involve making:
- 8 out of 10 putts from 5 feet
- 4 out of 10 putts 10 feet
- ~2 out of 10 putts from between 15 and 25 feet
That’s obviously just a snapshot of the practice session, but it underlines Killen’s point, to which golfers at home should play close attention: If you want to improve, you need to practice productively. And to do that, you need a plan.