Deliberate Practice Game of the Week: PGA Tour Putt
While any practice is better than none at all, if your goal is to develop skills that can be utilized and repeated in a multitude of situations, not just in a controlled, comfortable environment, you need Game Like, deliberate practice.
If your only goal is having the most picturesque swing imaginable, by all means, keep swinging away on the driving range. If your goal is to have a swing that will help you be better prepared to land a tee shot on the fairway, regardless of any variables, you need deliberate practice of your swing in situations that will help develop the motor skills and mental toughness to overcome any outside obstacles.
In the coming weeks, GLT Golf will be releasing a podcast each Friday that will feature a game of the week. These games are designed to help golfers train in new and exciting ways; more importantly, these games are designed to help golfers engage in Game Like Training and practice deliberately.
Starting things off, GLT Golf’s Matthew Cooke will be walking us through his PGA Tour Putt game. In the same way that just grooving a swing on the range time after time is serving no significant purpose to your actual golf game, just tapping in a series of putts from a fixed position or two on the practice green is doing nothing to help develop the motor skills to help sink putts on an actual green.
Check out our podcast here, where we talk about developing golf skill with Dr. David Grecic.
One of the biggest benefits of deliberate practice is that it grows and adapts along with a golfer’s skills. The PGA Tour Putt game is designed to be a challenge for golfers of every skill level, with a separate practice for beginning, intermediate and advanced level players. The basic principle for each level remains the same: get six balls from six different locations into the hole, recording how many shots go in from each spot.
For beginning golfers, the practice is pretty straight forward. Place six balls 3 feet from the cup. Repeat at 6, 9 and 12 feet. Hit all six balls from 3 ft. and record the results. Move to the balls 6 feet away, try to hole as many as possible, record your results. Repeat for 9 and 12 ft.
For intermediate golfers, we add an additional challenge. Instead of hitting all six balls from one location and moving to the next, hit one ball from 3 ft., one from 6, one from 9, and one from 12. Mark your results, and repeat until all balls have been hit.
For golfers at an advanced level, simply hitting balls in any sequence from a certain distance away would not be the type of challenge needed to foster the motor skills needed to consistently improve performance. Therefore, advanced golfers should add a non-putt shot after each putt. For example, an advanced golfer should begin with a putt from any location. After putting and marking the result, the golfer should move to the rough and hit a chip shot, then return to the green and attempt a putt at any location other than the most recently attempted. Mark your results, then continue the procedure until all balls have been attempted. Along with changing locations, the type of shot hit between each putt should also always be different than the one most recently attempted.
While this GLT Golf game is meant to be both fun and challenging for players (and coaches) of all levels, more importantly, it is meant as deliberate practice to help develop motor skills that golfers will recall when playing an actual game of golf. Our name isn’t Game Like Training Golf by coincidence; just like the way we teach players to practice, the choice was deliberate.