Mel Sole Golf Tip: Practice With a Purpose

Hi, this is Mel Sole with the Mel Sole Golf School, and my first order of business is to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015. I hope you set new goals for yourself in terms of your golf, your life, your family and your work.

So with that in mind, I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions. People make New Year’s resolutions on January 1 and usually by January 15 they are out the window. So hopefully for your golf game this year you can make some resolutions about practicing.

What I’m talking about here is practicing with a purpose. I have covered this before with the short game, and in the short game what I mentioned was when you’re practicing your chipping, create a little circle. Use some tees, make a 4-foot circle, 5-foot circle, 10-foot circle – whatever level your golf is. You can see I’ve counted out here 20 balls … and with your chipping you would count how many balls you’ve got inside your circle, and then you’ll have a little notepad with you and you would write down the date, chipping and how many balls you got inside your circle.

The next time you go and do your chipping you count out the 20 balls, you do your chipping and you have to improve on that. You look at your notebook and say “Okay, last time I did this, I chipped 8 out of 20.” So the next time you go and do your chipping you have to beat that, if you don’t you have to do it again. But by the time you finish you want to have a total of 9 or higher, then you know for sure that you’re a better chipper than the previous time.

What I didn’t cover was full shots … You can see this driving range is really nicely marked. There’s green, there’s bunkers and then distance markers. So when you’re working on full swing what you want to do is pick a target. In this case I have some greens there so I will just aim at the green, that was the right distance with the club I’ve got and I could hit my 7 iron to a green and I could count how many balls I’ve got on the green and how many balls off, make a note in my little notebook – the date, 7 iron, I got 10 out of 20 on the green. The next time I come back I’ve got to beat that total. That way I’m always improving. I’m practicing with a purpose.

If you don’t have it so nicely marked, pick something out there. The driving range will usually have some kind of target, some flag stick or something. So I was hitting my driver way out there, there are two 250-yard markers on either side and they are about fairway-width apart. So if I was practicing my driver I would then say, “Okay, I’ve got to count how many balls I get inside that target.” Once I finish my 20 balls I will write down how many balls I’ve got.

Do this through the year, it’s very simple, you keep the notebook in your golf bag so it’s there all the time. Don’t keep it at home where you get to the golf course and you don’t have it with you. So I’m counting out my 20 balls, I’m picking a target and then from here … That ball finished right on my target, so I’ve got one hit and one so far. So this is the way to practice. On the short game create your circle, if you have very high handicap make the circle big, if you have a lower handicap make the circle smaller.

Here, if you’re a high handicap and you’re not very good with your driver, make it much wider, make it twice the width of a normal fairway until you can get 20 out of 20. When you can get 20 out of 20 into a very wide area, now you can narrow the area and see if you can improve. I guarantee you, this type of practice will improve your golf game in 2015!