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Jan. 18, 2006

Quality, Not Quantity

I have never enjoyed a practice session that included going to the driving range and beating balls for four hours, then moving to the putting green and putting for another four, but that works for some people. Unfortunately, not me. Since I have been in college, I have learned a very important lesson. It’s not how much you do, but how well you do it. I have been not only a golfer, but an athlete for a LONG time and no matter what sport I was playing, practice sessions were never the time of the day I looked forward to, especially when it included running five suicides on the basketball court. However, I have discovered ways to keep my practice time fun and exciting and hopefully I can give you tips that will help you to enjoy your practice session more.

I can tell you this much, an imagination comes in real handy when practicing and playing golf. Every session, try to come up with a new game to play. For example, on the range, imagine playing nine holes on Pinehurst #2 or playing with Tiger in the Masters. Whatever it is, see the day in your mind and have fun with it. A lot of times, I imagine I am playing the hole that I hate the most on the range. I see each shot; where it goes, how it lands, and how I will play it next. Visualization is very important for confidence building. I would have to say though that my favorite thing to do when I practice is to hit pitch shots or chip shots to specific targets, like garbage cans or nets. Garbage cans are great for not only target practice, but reinforcement after a made shot and they are easy to obtain. When you hear the ball bounce in the bottom of the can, it’s a great feeling especially if you are competing with someone to see who makes it first. Many times, my putting practice is to tees that I have set up or holes that are smaller than regulation size. When putting to a smaller target, it makes it that much easier to putt to a normal hole. Other times though, I really like to have a match play putting contest. All of these ideas can help to make any practice session more enjoyable and to go by much faster.

The most important thing to remember is to HAVE FUN when you practice and don’t forget to work on your weaknesses! Otherwise, how will you get better? As my coach always says, ” Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” ENJOY & GO GAMECOCKS!!!

— Laura McCaslin