Comparatively few golfers, even among some of the better club players, know how to practice the right way. Like a round of golf itself, practice sessions should be properly planned and organized. In competitive play, accuracy and not distance is of paramount importance, and the golfer will do well to remember this when he works on his shots, whether he be practicing on a driving range or a practice fairway at his club.
Never practice without a target. You must give yourself some sort of standard by which to judge the success of your efforts. Pupils complain to me that they can hit a ball a mile on a driving range, but they don't realize they are spraying their shots every which way. Thoughtless practice sessions not only are valueless but foster bad habits that may be hard to correct later.
I recommend that any golfer practicing his woods and long irons visualize an average fairway in his mind and work to confine his shots to that limited area. Most fairways are at least 40 yards wide, so I advise my pupils to pick out a tree or some other marker and establish a 20-yard tolerance on either side of the target. With your irons, limit the area of tolerance proportionately, allowing, say, 15 feet on each side of your chosen target for a five iron. With this system, you should be able to become a much more accurate player than if you practice just to display power.
from JACKSON BRADLEY, pro at the River Oaks Country Club
At left, Jackson Bradley picks out a tree as a target while practicing long irons. Select a marker for yourself when practicing in order to gauge the accuracy of your shots
NEXT WEEK'S GUEST PRO: TOMMY ARMOUR ON ACTIVE RIGHT SIDE