PGA Tour Hero World Challenge 2017. How did Tiger Woods do it?
Taking the #goat’s range game to the golf course!
A concept that is becoming increasingly intriguing in the golf industry, although often misunderstood, is practice. More specifically, how golfers can practice better when trying to improve their techniques. Tiger Woods's high performance golf coach, Chris Como, knows exactly what I’m about to talk about.
For many years, golfers have expressed their despair for the inability to sustain the solid contact, highly proficient accuracy and consistent distances experienced on the driving range before embarking on the golf course. It baffles most and frustrates all. One could say, “why is it with me one minute, and gone the next?”
In my early years as a PGA Golf Teaching Professional, I struggled to understand why an exhaustive amount of practice drills and exercises failed to unveil the golfer I saw hitting balls with me on the lesson tee. There were age-old drills sworn by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, the late Arnold palmer, Ben Hogan and more, that produced tour level golf shots 80% of the time, but just didn’t transfer to the real time playing environment i.e. the golf course. Repetition after repetition, hour after hour, raking one golf ball after another, forced an unthinkable number of golfers to search for ways to replicate what seemed to happen so seamlessly on the driving range.
It is only within the last 5-10 years that highly skilled PGA Golf Professionals, who have dedicated their lives to learning and performance, have adopted principles brought into existence by learning scientists. For over a decade, advances in how people learn have been researched, studied and published, helping coaches in all industries enhance the development of their student’s sports skills. This knowledge is what PGA Golf Teaching Professionals are now equipped with, making the transfer of driving range skills much closer to the skills performed on the golf course.
Interleaving Practice Strategy
This could be the single most important strategy for all golfers who make their way to the driving range in hope of taking their game to the next level. A concept becoming more and more popular is the ‘interleaving’ strategy. This is where golfers relieve themselves of hitting the same club to the same target consecutively, instead hitting 1 club to 1 target, and the following shot with a different club to a different target.
Take your driver, tee up the golf ball, select a target and proceed to execute the shot to the best of your ability. After hitting the driver, go ahead and rate the outcome. Then, take a different club, select a different target and proceed to execute the next shot to the best of your ability once again. Continue to hit your practice balls this way.
Doing this represents the type of activity golfers experience on the golf course, which makes practice much more effective. Having a second chance on the driving range doesn’t always help prepare golfers for the hardships the golf course tends to present. Forcing yourself to have only one chance requires a high level of concentration and extreme diligence. The more golfers can practice under these conditions, the easier those hardships become.
“Whenever I do go out with a bag of golf balls, I have a specific objective in mind, and once I’ve achieved it, I quit… I learned long ago that there is a limit to the number of shots you can hit effectively before losing your concentration on your basic objective”.
One of the greatest golfers on the planet (who the big cat is still trying to catch,) had a better way of practicing, we should all adopt a similar pattern.