Column: One hour practice

In her latest column, Jennifer Greggain shows it is possible to fit a productive golf practice into a busy life.

Let’s face it, not all of us have a lot of time to practice our golf game. Who can hit hundreds or thousands of balls to keep their game from suffering?

We all want to get better, but simply don’t have very much time in our day to day to make that happen. But here is a one hour practice routine that you can easily fit in at least once or twice per week.

First of all, think about your game for a moment. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Also, consider which parts of your game are used the most.

For the average player, at least 30 to 40 per cent of strokes are on the putting green, whereas only about 15 per cent is driving. However, as I watch golfers practice at the course, nearly all of them are working on swing mechanics, usually with their driver.

Can you see how this doesn’t match?

I recommend that at least 50 per cent (or more) of your practice time be spent on the short game.

My one hour practice includes 15 minutes of putting and 15 minutes of chipping.

Good putters can do two things really well. They can control distance on longer putts and they are confident they can make putts inside six feet.

Be sure to choose putting drills that build these two skills.

For your next 30 minutes, head to the driving range. After a good five minute warmup, spend 20 minutes on approach shots with your wedges through mid irons.

These are the most crucial shots you need to keep sharp with your full swing. Be sure not to forget practicing those awkward distance control pitch shots from 30-80 yards.

This leaves five minutes for your longer game, including your driver. It is important to keep the ball in play off the tee, but that is one small component of a strong game.

Finally, I see many students who spend ample time on the practice tee, but don’t see results on the golf course.

This is because most people don’t practice simulating golf.

Recent research in motor learning reveals that the most ideal learning environments are consistently challenging the brain.

Do you think that repetitively hitting the same shot to the same target with the same club offers a challenging learning environment? Absolutely not, which is why players who practice this way don’t get the desired results.

This means that the most efficient way for golfers to spend their precious little practice time should be simulating golf as much as possible.

Some examples of this are visualizing a golf course on the driving range, and hitting different clubs to different targets.

On the putting green, use one ball, not three like most golfers do.

Go through your entire routine including marking the ball and reading the green.

For short-game practice, consider creating a mini course, requiring you to hit one ball to a practice hole and then make the putt.

It doesn’t take a significant amount of time to get in an effective and efficient practice session, but be sure to consider what you are spending your time on and how you can simulate actual golf as much as possible.


Jennifer teaches is the Director of Instruction at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including two years on the LPGA.

She was named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.

She is also a two-time Pepsi Northwest Women’s Open Champion.

Greggain can be contacted at 604-798-9805,, or at