Start with the lowest hanging fruit

With our return date to golf in England confirmed and the weather starting to improve we can start to think about golf again.

For the majority of you during this 3rd lockdown, practice wasn’t really possible due to the weather and lack of opportunity.

So, as you return to the course be mindful of the 3 months you have had away. Be careful of the expectations you may impose on yourself.

For many of us, getting in practice time can be a challenge for various reasons.
Are we even motivated to?

When it comes to practice, how can we try and maximise our return on practice in these coming weeks/months?

We know from statistical data from both the professional and amateur game that long game has the greatest relevance to your score. Mark Broadie in his book ‘Every Shot Counts’ identifies that for a Professional:

Driving contributes around 28% to score
Approach shots contribute around 40%
Short Game contributes around 17%
Putting contributes around 15%

This may just get you thinking in to the breakdown of your scoring …

Broadie also goes on to state that practice on the short game will see rapid improvements, quickly. Short game is the lowest hanging fruit so to speak.

I would start off with putting some work in on and around the greens, working back to cover inside 100 yards and then building out beyond that.

BUT, how do we balance out knowing long game performance has a greater correlation to score but short game sees a quicker return for effort in practice?

For me, I would like you to take the long-term view when it comes to improving your long game performance. Of course, there will be some things that improve faster than others but I feel too many golfers expect too much of themselves at times.

It is one thing being able to improve your swing in a lesson, another to do it on your own in practice, another to apply it on the course, another to apply it on the course in competitions and another level again to apply it when it really counts – the 18th tee shot in competition with a great round going for instance.
Very rarely (if ever) have I seen it go straight from a lesson to the course (when it matters and stress levels are raised).

That’s the value of regular lessons and having a plan. It allows incremental changes that will settle in as you build up on them. As the long game beds in, keeping working on your short game and course management to improve your scoring.

Very rarely in competition will you have your ‘best stuff’, but you do have to make the best of the stuff you do have.