Having studied the best players in the world, here are 7 tour player practice tips to help improve your golf game from tee-to-green.
Does your practice routine need some structure and focus? Here are 7 tour player practice tips to help you improve the quality of your golf from tee-to-green.
1 T-Bar Drill
Even at the highest level, every golf swing is different. However, one thing that remains consistent among all good players are the fundamentals of the address. If you want to swing the club on a good path and strike it sweetly you need the correct ball position and alignment. Head to the range at a Tour event and you will struggle to find a single player not checking at least one of these. The best way to do it is to lay down two alignment sticks (or golf clubs), as shown here. One aiming parallel to your target line to help you check your body alignment, the other at right angle to that to help you check your ball position. With a driver in hand the ball should be just inside your left heel as shown. As you move down through the clubs, the ball should gradually move back in your stance. This simple T-Bar drill will help you cement the basics of good alignment and the perfect ball position with every club.
2 Step Through Drill
A good golf swing is an athletic motion that couples poise with power. The key to this is mastering the correct weight movement in the swing and this is where many amateurs go wrong. At address it should be roughly split 50-50, then as you move back, your weight should shift onto your back foot (be careful not to sway onto your right side as you do this). Then from the top of the backswing, it should shift back towards the target until 90% of your weight is on your front foot. Watch how Rory McIlroy does it. A great drill, used out on Tour by Padraig Harrington, is to step through the shot – allow your right foot to step towards your left as you rotate into the finish. This forces your weight to move in the correct way, which will add important extra power to your swing.
3 Connection Drill
Here is one of the best, and most regularly seen, Tour player practice tips as it helps ensure the arms are working in synchronisation with the body. Place a glove in under both armpits at address and hit a series of shots ensuring the gloves do not fall down until after you have struck the ball. Your arm-swing should come as a result of your body rotation and this drill works brilliantly to ensure they are working together.
4 Strike Drill
Every good ball-striker is able to compress the ball through impact. This means they get the club working on the ideal decent angle (about 4˚ down at impact with their irons), creating a divot after the point of contact with the ball. You can improve your own striking by placing a tee peg in the ground in front of the ball. The aim here is simple – to strike the tee peg. If you can get the leading edge of your club hitting the tee, you’ll strike the ball on the ideal angle of attack, helping you to find that Tour quality contact every amateur is looking for.
5 Landing Zone Drill
When you prepare to chip, how often do you identify a specific landing spot? This process is important for two reasons a) it will help you select the shot you want to hit and b) it creates a positive mind-set. As you practice, place a golf towel on the green on a flat spot, where you want the ball to land. Now hit a series of shots trying to land the ball on the towel as often as possible. This requires a consistent strike and is tricky, but it really helps place your focus on the correct spot before you play.
6 Start Line Drill
When it comes to the putting technique, there are very few hard and fast rules. Regardless of how you choose to putt, the key element to master is your start line. Can you consistently start the ball rolling on the line you want? This is something the majority of top players will regularly check. Place two tee pegs on the green just wider than the width of the ball, about six inches ahead of the ball at address. You can also use two tee pegs to create a gate through which to swing the putter. You should be able to consistently roll the ball through the tees – if not, you can start making some minor adjustments to your set up and stroke to help you do it. This is one of the very best Tour player practice tips – spend some time on it and by the end you will have a better putting stroke as a result.
7 Focus drill
One saying many Tour players have used over the years is ‘aim small, miss small.’ This tip revolves around making your target as specific as possible which will help your shots become more precise. Off the tee this means aiming at the branch of a tree or a window on a distant building. On the green, this means locking your focus in on a spot in the back of the hole. In practice, try putting a tee in the ground, just behind the centre of the hole. Now hit a series of straight 5ft putts, aiming not at the hole, but at the tee. By locking in your focus you should notice your percentage of putts from close range increase.