If you’re trying to get ready for the biggest tournament on your playing calendar, mindlessly pounding balls at the range or trying to tear down your swing won’t work. You need to be efficient with your time, and if you're like most of us, you don't have a lot of it. We commissioned Golf Digest Best Young Teacher and tour coach Shaun Webb to build a tournament prep practice plan that's robust and schedule-friendly—in the real world for handicap players with day jobs and families.
Webb runs David Toms’ teaching academy in Shreveport, La., and teaches nationally ranked junior players in addition to working with Toms on his game. The full four-hours-per-week plan (shown below) adapts some of the practice techniques tour players use to get ready for major season to help you be more efficient with your preparation.
The ground rules:
Play as much as you can. There is no better prep than getting out on the course. Play the ball down, and putt everything out.
Spend 70 percent of your practice time on shots 100 yards and in.
Learn the carry distance for each club in your bag.
Spend any full-swing practice time working on one or two swing keys that help you hit your predictable shot shape and center-face contact—NOT on fixing how your shots curve.
With the driver, work on center contact and curving the shot the same way every time.
Play nine holes with the ball down and putting out.
Putting practice focusing on quality of lag putting. (30 minutes)
Situational chipping practice. (30 minutes)
Distance wedge practice to specific targets 30 to 100 yards away. (30 minutes)
Driver practice focused ONLY on center contact. Use foot spray on the face to measure where you’re making contact. (30 minutes)
Play nine holes: On approach shots, hit two shots and record your score from the best outcome and the worst one.
Putting play: Play 18 holes on the putting green to distant targets, holing out and counting your score (30 minutes)
Chipping play: Toss nine balls around the green in various lies and try to get up and down. Record your score (30 minutes)
Range work with irons on consistent shot shape: Use alignment rods to tune setup and stance.
Play nine holes with the ball down, putting out, and compare score to Week 1.
Short putting practice: Make a putting clock of six balls in a three-foot circle around a hole with medium slope. Practice until you can make a complete circuit around the clock without missing (30 minutes)
Pitching practice: 20 to 30 yards from fairway grass and rough (30 minutes)
- Range time through the bag: Full routine on every shot, new club and new target on each shot (30 minutes)
Play 18 holes with the ball down, putting out on every shot. Pick the single area from that experience that needs tuning (lag putting, chipping, driving) and do 30 minutes of range time working on a single swing key for that issue.