One of the topics that comes up often is the difference between a real practice session and a pre-round warm up session. I think your goals and objectives are entirely different in the two.
To me, a pre-round session is to get loose and find what’s working today. To get the feel of the club in my hands so that I am prepared for the round. I begin by stretching some, and then loosening up the muscles before my first swing. I like to swing two clubs, but one in each hand, with my hands together. That gives me the resistance in my shoulders and back of the two clubs, but when I go to just one for my first swing, the club doesn’t feel heavy.
I begin my pre-round session with some short chips, then longer pitches, then move into half and full shots with the high loft clubs. My goal is to get the feel of impact and set my tempo. I think progress through the set to a short iron, middle iron and hybrid, hitting shots until I get 2-3 really nice ones in a row, then move on to the next club. I then hit a few 4-woods and drivers, until I feel good about going to the first tee. I finish that session with a half dozen short chip shots again to re-install that feel and comfort. Then it is off to the putting green for 5-10 minutes of getting the feel of the greens and my stroke for the day.
In contrast, when I go for a practice session, I typically limit that to one thing I’m working on at the time. It might be tempo, take-away, weight shift, working a draw . . . whatever. I limit myself to one or maybe two things, depending on my progress. I begin that session by hitting some shots without trying to “do” anything, but rather “feeling” for what I am doing. Then I analyze and begin to instill changes.
I know my swing very well, so this approach works for me. If you don’t know it that well, I am a big fan of engaging an instructor to help you.
Once I find what I’m seeking that day, I keep hitting balls until I feel like it is ingrained a bit. But in doing this, I always keep in mind something I learned watching Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a session. He wouldn’t let Tom hit more than a half dozen shots with one club, then he would have him change to something else. He didn’t let Tom just rip 5-irons endlessly, for example. He would watch a few 5’s, then have Tom go to an 8. Then back to a 4, then to a 9, etc. I thought that made sense, so I have adopted that to my practice sessions.
Okay, guys, there’s today’s insight. I’ll dive into another one of these topics next week. I would also like to ask you to use the link below for your ideas, as that way I can keep a file of them for reference. It works much better for me than trying to remember under which post a question was posted.
Thanks again for your candor and honesty to help keep me on track.