A Lesson Learned: Off golf course preparation

Bill Britton and PGA leadership
The PGA of America
Bill Britton, the PGA Director of Instruction at Trump National Golf Club in Colt's Neck, N.J., receives the award from PGA leadership for being the low club professional in the field at the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
Bill Britton, PGA

Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2012 | 5:20 p.m.

It was a great honor to represent The PGA of America and my fellow club professionals this week as the Low Club Professional at the Senior PGA Championship. It was a great week and a tremendous event. Congratulations to all of the 43 club professionals who were in the field and to The PGA of America for a great job of hosting this championship.

For this week's "A Lesson Learned," I want to stress the importance of preparation - especially when circumstances don't allow for much of it.

I qualified for the championship last October. It's the one event I look forward to most every year and I want very much to play my best here. Unfortunately, the weather and a busy lesson schedule doesn't necessarily allow for ideal preparation time for me. Of course, this is almost certainly the case for all the PGA Club Professionals in the field.

But I knew there were little things I could do - and did - to prepare for this. I would putt indoors, find a heated driving range when I could, check my grip frequently, check my posture, take an occasional lesson - just to keep things going in the right direction.

Of course, as the event nears, you want to spend more time on the course in preparing, but even then - there are challenges. I taught just about all day the two days before coming here - and that's the reality we have accept. And that's okay. But making sure I was as ready as I could be when we finally arrived at the week.

So how does this apply to you? As an instructor, I understand the limits and demands on your time. Most golfers can't spend as much time on the course or practice range as they'd like - especially those really wanting to play their best at an upcoming event. But don't discount the value of alternative practice routines. Putt around the house, grip a club as you stand around or chip a few balls in the yard. These not only help build proper muscle memory and ingrain (hopefully) good techniques, but it keeps you focused on improving your game. You'd really be surprised at how it can help sharpen your skills and touch.

Nothing can fully replace time on the range, learning from a good instructor and simply playing golf as ways to improve. But keeping your mind and technique on golf even when you're not able to get to the course will pay big dividends for your game.

Good luck!

Try this ...