A tremendous amount of golf is really just about grinding out the practice and making sure you pick it up yourself.   But it’s never as simple as that. I spent so many hours at the range during my challenge year – certainly in excess of 500 that I noticed a tremendous amount of golfers making the same mistakes over and over again.

They’d simply arrive and hit as many drives as they were prepared to pay for depending upon the size of the bucket of balls.  And there’s a popular myth out there that that is pretty much what I did.  I noticed, just a couple of days ago, a Youtube commenter remarking on one of my videos “70,000 balls ladies and gentlemen – there’s your answer right there…” and a number of people “liked” the comment.

But sadly that’s not the answer.  And it’s actually a million miles from the truth.  The truth is that I hit half as many balls in practice in the second part of the year but each ball hit was at least twice as effective in terms of making me better.  The quality of my practice and ability to actually score better was exponentially better.  But for an internet keyboard warrior who wants to for their own opinion that’s not so good.  People want to assume that things are simple and that we can all do it “if we could just find the time to hit 70,000 balls…”

Well, there was a golfer who hit very nearly as many golf balls as me during that challenge year who also practiced at the range…

… and his handicap went from 17 to 13 during that period.

So the answers are never simple but there are a LOT of lessons to learn while thinking a little more cleverly about your practice and the way you act on the course.

So what this brings me to is a tip that I picked up from both Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson.  Two of the greatest short game experts the world has ever seen.  And that, right there, is another tip.  If you’re going to try to improve then listen to the very best.  Listen to the tips that come from the greatest golfers who’ve ever existed and are specialities in what it is that you’re trying to Improve.  i.e. take lessons in ball striking from Sergio Garcia not how to keep a cool mental attitude on the course…!

The lesson from Tom and Phil (note how I like to think of them in first name terms these days – that’s how big an ego you get when someone makes a movie about you!) was to putt and miss on the “pro side”.

tom watson putting

Tom talks about how in the weekly pro-ams he would always see amateurs miss on the low side of a breaking putt.  Almost without exception amateur golfers don’t factor in enough break.  But the really key thing here is that if you miss on the high side and perhaps factor in a little too much break then the ball still has a chance to fall in – a chance that the ball on the low side simply doesn’t have.

As I often talk about it’s very useful to have a specific emphasis that you’re focusing on when you’re out on a round of golf.  The next time you’re out for 18 holes why don’t you set a strategy to factor in enough break so that you won’t miss on the low side.

And then see how it affects your scores.

golf putting scorecard

If you’d like to learn the full twelve module program that I created after I broke par make sure you sign up at The Break Par Blueprint Programme  Trust me – it says a LOT more than “hit 70,000 golf balls…”.  And it’s completely risk free and covered by our full 60 day, no quibble, money back guarantee.