Each spring around this time I start hitting the driving range. Up until last year I would usually go to the range a few times per week for a month before daring to step foot on a golf course. However, given the fact that I don’t have a lot of spare time to dedicate to golf, and given the fact that I am not that good of a golfer and just want to go out and play, several weeks of practice really cuts into "my season".
So last year I started focusing on how I could get back into the game really efficiently. I came up with something that worked really well for me. My brother and I hit the range today, and this was only my second time out but I already feel comfortable with most of my irons.
Here is my strategy…
Day #1: Only hit irons 6,7,8,9,P,S. Don’t mess with the bigger irons or any woods yet. Hit one bucket of balls using these clubs in random order. Figure out how much of your skillz you’ve retained from last year.
Day #2: Again only hit irons, but this time you’ll try to use all of them. Start with your smallest club; the sand wedge. Get to where you are hitting it consistently well, then move up to your pitching wedge. Again, get to where you are hitting it consistently well, and then move to your 9-iron. Continue to your 8, 7, 6, etc, until you reach a club where you are struggling to hit the ball consistently well. At that point back down a club or two and then try to work your way up again. Keep doing this until you break past the club that was giving you the problem.
For example, today my 5-iron started giving me problems. So I hit my 6, 7 and 8 for a while and kept coming back to the 5. Finally I was hitting the 5-iron well and broke past it. I made it to my 4-iron before running out of balls.
Day #3: Repeat what you did on Day #2. Do not attempt your woods yet.
(repeat Day #3 with one bucket of balls per day until you feel comfortable with all of your irons)
Day #4: Now that you are comfortable with all of your irons, lets work on stamina. I tend to run out of gas on the back nine, so this is a critical step for me. Leave your woods alone still. Hit two buckets of balls using all of your irons in random order. If you start having trouble with a particular club, go back to the small clubs and work your way up again. Randomize it as often as you can whenever you feel you are hitting consistently well. I tend to randomize it as if I am on the course – long club, short club, wedge… long club, long club, short club, short club, wedge… etc
Day #5: Warm up with your irons a bit, and then whip out the woods. Start with your shortest wood and work your way to the driver. The strategy is the same as you did to get good with the irons. Just hit one bucket. End with a few short irons.
Day #6: Repeat Day #5 until you are hitting all of your woods well enough to feel comfortable using them about 5-10 times on a course.
Day #7: Work on stamina again. Hit two buckets of balls, randomizing the club selection between woods and irons. Mix it up as much as you can and revert back to the small clubs, working up to larger clubs, whenever you get into trouble.
Now you are ready to hit the golf course. Start with a 9-hole. Actually, you were really ready after Day #4 because you don’t need your woods if you can hit your irons consistently well.
Oh, and as for putting, get to the course 30-minutes before your tee-time and put around a bit. That’s all you need in order to be able to go out and enjoy yourself. You can spend the rest of your summer working on your short game… you just need to be able to keep pace without losing your ball on every other hole.