Are you a floater or swimmer?

It’s often said to practice with a purpose.

Great. So, practice with the purpose of getting better? Isn’t that already obvious?

No matter if you’re a 3 handicap or 30, you most likely have some regimen of honing the ‘ole skills on the practice facilities.

But, ask yourself this: Are you a floater or a swimmer?

Throughout much of my own playing career, admittedly, I was a floater – someone who’d spend hours upon hours practicing all facets of the game, but with no real organization or goals in the process.

Sometimes I’d hit balls for hours – focusing on the driver, long irons, wedges, or whatever I felt like – or perhaps I’d work on my short game in a random fashion that, of course helped my touch, but didn’t really leave me with any tangible feeling of improvement from that given session. I basically went along with wherever the current traveled.practice photo

After years of hindsight and coaching others like me, however, I realized I would have been much better served if I were a swimmer – someone who’s always moving toward a specific direction, with a specific objective to accomplish in each practice session.

Example: Instead of hitting 6-irons until your hands bleed because that club was your nemesis the last time you played, create a specific regimen of amount of balls hit, or time spent, with every subset of club (i.e. driver, woods, hybrids/long irons, mid irons, wedges) each time you hit the range.

Perhaps 10 balls, or five minutes, per club does the trick, and starting with the wedges and working your way to the longer clubs before finishing again with the wedges puts you in a nice routine.  And, with short game, maybe hitting lag puts for 10 minutes, doing your favorite putting drill for another 10 minutes and having to knock in 50 five-footers before you leave, and doing something similar with shots around the green, feels good as well.

Feel it out.  Change the time spent with the routine as a whole until you find your groove and, once you’ve found it, treat your practice sessions like your morning routine.

That’s right, most of us sequence our mornings in the same fashion every single day – doing this with your practice sessions will pay huge dividends to your golf game because, whether you just shot your lifetime best round or worst, it will help you come back to something you’re comfortable with, and that you know works for your game.

Because, after all, in a game centered on the very idea chaos, isn’t having at least some control over your golf game better, when you’re hanging out in the water, wondering in which direction the island of awesome golf awaits?