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Knocking the Rust Off of Your Game

Executing practice drill tests patience and builds consistency.
Caitlyn Doyle, Penn State Professional Golf Management Student

Series: Already Golf

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 | 8:18 a.m.

Golf, much like life, is a game of transitions.  While playing a round of golf you make transitions all the time.  Going from a short hole, to a long hole. Facing an uphill shot, then a downhill one.  Making the turn from the front nine, to the back nine.  These are all examples of the transitions a player faces.  How we adapt to them will determine our level of success out on the course. 

Transitioning from the offseason back into regular season can be tough at first, as many players know.  Approaching the tee box for the first time after a few months away will make even the experienced players’ palms sweat and knees shake.  This feeling can also be exciting and invigorating.  Every golf shot should be looked at as a new opportunity to shine, but patience is also key.  It must be taken one step at a time. 

A strategy that I personally rely on when I am “knocking the rust off” of my golf clubs and beginning my season is to focus the majority of my practice time on the short game which includes chipping, pitching and putting.  Many golf rounds are determined by shots produced from 100 yards and in.  Consistently executing these shots will lower your scores and improve your overall enjoyment of the game.

A drill I use quite a bit that focuses on putting is called “3-6-9.”   Start practicing putts on the putting green from three feet, six feet and nine feet.  Once you have made ten three-footers in a row, move back to practice six-footers, and so on.  You can also use this drill to improve your pitching game as well.  Starting at 50 yards, you must land ten golf shots on the green.  From there you can move back to 60 then 70 yards until you’ve landed ten shots on the green.  This drill will test your patience while working on consistency.   

These strategies will only make the transition smoother.  Because in the end it’s not how we start a round, but how we finish that truly matters.