Scrimmage Golf


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010

I ran into my buddy Kyle the other day at my laboratory. We began talking about how we both have trouble bringing what we do in our practice sessions to the golf course. No matter how well we hit it in practice, it just doesn't seem to happen during a round.

I started thinking about the way I practice. Normally I stretch and then grab my 6 or 7-iron and started swinging away. The balls that miss the green give me an opportunity to practice my chip and pitch shots. I usually repeat this routine 4 or 5 times.

I think this is okay practice, but not ideal. I get to practice my full swing and short game but I began to think that I could be more efficient. As I mentioned before I grew up playing baseball and basketball. For me, practice was more exciting than the games. If I would start to slip in school, all my parents had to do was threaten to keep me out of practice and that was enough to get me to hit the books.

After graduating from the University Of Miami, I worked with the Women's Basketball team as a student coach. It was during these four years that I really gained an appreciation for a well organized practice.

To stay focused and optimize the time the we had, practice was broken down into specific time segments. In our allotted two hours, the practice schedule could look like this...

12:00PM-1:00PM - Go to the training room to get taped and receive treatment on injuries. Get dressed and start stretching and shooting.

1:00-1:20 - Stretch

1:20-1:30 - Light plyometrics

1:30-1:45 - Dribbling drills

1:45-2:00 - Guards on one end. Depending on the day, passing drills, shooting drills, etc. Forwards and Centers on the other. Rebounding drills, shooting drills, etc.

2:00-2:20 - Work on new play.

2:20-2:40 - Scrimmage.

2:40 - 2:50 - Conditioning.

2:50 - 3:00 - Free throws.

This is only an example of a practice day. What we worked on from day to day changed. The point is that every aspect of practice was specific and with a purpose. There is no wasted time. Remembering this, I applied this principle to my own practice efforts.

Today I practiced for a little over two hours. It went like this...

3:00PM-3:10PM - Stretch.

3:10-3:30 - 7-iron.

3:30-3:45 - 50 yard pitch shots.

3:45-4:00 - Full pitching wedge shots.

4:00-4:15 - Flop shots over a bunker.

4:15-4:35 - 7-iron. Try to get up and down with the shots that missed the green.

4:35-5:15 - Scrimmage(If the greens were nice I would set aside time for putting after the scrimmage. It would be the equivalent of free throw segment at the end of basketball practice).

I believe that setting a schedule will help me to practice more efficiently. For that 15 to 20 minute segment, I am only focused on that particular drill. I set my goal for the practice session and the schedule helps me achieve it.

Just like when I was a kid, my favorite part of practice today was the scrimmage, or I guess as we call it in golf, a practice round. This brings me back to my conversation with Kyle about having trouble going from the range to the course. The main reason is that we don't scrimmage.

The whole purpose of a scrimmage is to get the feel of game-like conditions while working on specific areas of your game. During a scrimmage, as coaches, we would stop play to break down a specific area of the game and then let the team resume play. You can do all the drills in the world but if you never get the feel of playing under real conditions, you will never be ready come game time.

I practice a lot, but I haven't been playing under game like conditions. I am not putting pressure on myself. I am very fortunate to have my little golf course and I really have to take advantage of what I have. There are six holes that are open for play so I just go around with two clubs, my 7-iron and 52 degree gap wedge, and go along as if I am playing a round.

Depending on where I tee it up from I can make a hole as short as 75 yards on some and as long as 185 yards on another. This gives me an chance to learn how to hit my clubs to different distances. For example, since I only have my gap wedge, I am learning to hit it between 75 and 120 yards. This will help me when I'm on the course if I am caught between clubs. Practicing the way I am will have more prepared because I would have done it before.

I don't think that there is any substitute for actually playing. When I am playing a lot as well as practicing, my scores begin to lower. If I practice but don't play as much, my score never improve. They just stay the same. Usually an 89. As it says in the picture above, "there is no substitute for experience."

I hope that this new method of practice will help me reach my goals. The main thing is that practice is fun again, and anytime you're having fun, you get to where you want to go a lot faster. Have a great round and always hit your target.

"No Substitute" image found here.

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