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How to Build a Golf Training Plan

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Walk the range at any course in the country, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of players hitting balls do not use a training plan. It’s like going into the gym everyday without a plan of what you want to accomplish. You’ll probably get stronger, but you won’t reach your potential.

When developing your golf training plan, you have to start with some very basic questions:

1. What is my ultimate goal for this plan? Don’t be afraid to dream here. Make your goal realistic, but if it’s not a little scary, it’s probably not big enough.

2. How much time can I realistically devote every week to my plan? You don’t want to stretch what’s possible with this answer. Be brutally honest with yourself. There is nothing worse then having a great plan, but not being able to make it work due to time constraints. 

3. How can I measure my success? I like to use software like measuredpractice.com 

4. What parts of my game need the most work? Again, stat-tracking software is invaluable for questions like this. The Shot by Shot app also does an incredible job pointing out deficiencies and strengths.

5. How will I stay accountable? It’s great to have a coach, a training partner, or a social media group to motivate you, follow your progress, and keep you accountable. Setting up a support system is key. 

Once you have the time to sit down and write out the answers to those five questions, you are ready to start making your plan. And every week of your plan needs to have a goal and a weekly focus that fits into your ultimate goals.

Gaucher_Will_Wedge_Plan

In the picture above, you can see the player told me he could dedicate 5 hours a week to serious practice. That doesn’t mean he only played 5 hours of golf that week, but he had to have 100-percent focus for at least these 5 hours. This particular week’s focus and goal was all wedge work, which we chose as an area of focus based on the stats we had gathered. It fit into our game plan of hitting more drivers off the tee. This particular player can hit his driver in excess of 320 yards, so a sharper wedge game is key to helping him shoot lower his scores.

Gaucher_Training_Plan

When I’m developing training plans with golfers, I like to create mini training plans with an even greater focus on a particular area. For instance, in setting up this player’s tournament schedule, we labeled tournaments A, B, or C. The “A” tournaments are the biggest and most important, while the “C” tournaments are less important or have weaker fields. Labeling the schedule allows us to determine in advance how much practice and training we will use, as well as what type of practice and training we will use.

In this example, the golfer was a scratch who mainly played club events. He told me that 8 hours per week was the most he could dedicate to practice time. So during the week with no tournament and the week with only a charity event, we used that full 8 hours to really focus on some technique and weaknesses in his game. As we moved into tournament weeks (A and B events), we used spent more time on mental focus and on-course practice to make sure he was prepared to shoot the lowest scores possible.

The hardest part of making a program is that you have to be willing to adapt and change. Most people can set up a very good plan, but as their game develops or as life happens, they fail to adjust their plan. This is where having a coach who can look at the big picture and the stats is invaluable. Looking at the big picture, a coach can take a step back and adjust the plan to suit both your short-term and long-term needs.

If you want to play your best golf possible, take the time to sit down and create a plan before your next round or range session. Enjoy the journey of improvement, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help as your goals need to be adjusted. We’re in this together!

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Dan Gaucher is a Teaching Professional at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Connecticut. He also host a very successful podcast called "Rebel With Out A Par". Dan also has experience in the health and fitness industry which has allowed him to further understand the biomechanics of the body and how it correlates to the golf swing. Dan enjoys being a student of both the human body and the game of golf. Dan works with players of all abilities from beginners to aspiring professionals.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. robert

    Oct 14, 2017 at 12:40 am

    great read, a trainer makes me this plan…i’m wondering what would be if i had tjis 10 years ago…

    • Golf Doktor

      Oct 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Yeah, but just reading a ‘plan’ won’t make you a better golfer. You gotta exercise so you’re physically fit and then train for golf….. a minimum 2 year plan.
      Alternatively, you can read golf magazines, books and websites for really great golf ‘tips’…. and that should be enough for instant results… but only if you can think your way through your new golf swing.

  2. M. Vegas

    Oct 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Take a week or two off….
    Then quit playing

    • Golf Doktor

      Oct 14, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I hear that Texas Holdem Poker is really popular with high handicap golfers nowadays.

    • Golf Doktor

      Oct 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      No no, don’t quit playing!
      The PGA defines a “golfer” as anybody who owns a set of golf clubs and plays once a year.
      According to golf industry statistics there are ~50 million golfer worldwide…. and about 90% fall into the above category.

  3. SteveK

    Oct 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Any athletic training program must start with General Conditioning which means going to the gym and building up your body to control your body joints when under athletic stress. If you have weak abs or quads no amount of training for golf will help you because your weaknesses will ruin you.
    You can have a basic home gym with weights and equipment or go to a health club for more equipment. It’s a cheap investment and one year of General Conditioning will pay tremendous dividends.
    The next step is Sport-specific Training once you have reached an adequate level of General Conditioning. This may or may not include swinging a golf club. Simply skipping the General Conditioning is cheating and deluding. You can’t build a solid swing into a deficient body.
    Sorry for the bad brutal truth, because attempting to tinker and patch a golf swing in the hope of improving your swing problems is plainly wrong.

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Instruction

Gabe Hjertstedt teaches Doc Rivers how to hit the lofted chip shot

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In the first episode of this instructional series with Short Game Guru Gabe Hjertstedt and NBA Coach for the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers, Gabe teaches Doc how to hit the lofted chip shot to get the ball to stop quicker on the green.

Look out for more videos this week including more from Gabe and Doc’s short game session, their full lesson, and our interview with Doc.

Enjoy the first video below!

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WATCH: How to hit your driver more consistently

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In this video, I share two great drills that will help you improve your driving today.

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3 keys for getting out of bunkers with soft sand

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One of the most infuriating things in golf is to land in a bunker that has too much sand, or sand with the consistency of a truckload of talcum power. Now, I am not picking on the Superintendents; they do have to add new sand from time-to-time, so no hate mail please! It’s my fault for hitting it in the bunker in the first place, and bunkers are supposed to be hazards; I know that.

The one thing we will assume for this article is that even though we are in soft sand, we will have a good lie, not a plugged or semi-plugged one. We are in a bunker that just has a bunch of sand, or it’s soft and fluffy sand. Everyone asks me what the secret is to handling these types of conditions and I’m here to help you get better.

1) Get a wedge with the correct bounce

Let’s consider that you play the same golf course every weekend, or that you mostly play on courses that have the same type of playing conditions mostly. When you have this luxury, you should have wedges that fit the conditions you tend to play. So, if you have a low bounce wedge with a sharp flange and you’re playing from bunkers with lots of sand, then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Why alter your swing if the wedge you have can help you? Use a high bounce wedge (9-12 degrees of bounce) for soft sand, and a low bounce wedge (6-8 degrees) for firm sand.

2) Control your Angle of Attack 

As with most things in golf, there are always things that you must pay attention to in order for you to have the odds in your favor. Simple things such as paying attention to the lie you have can help you save shots in the rough. In bunkers, you cannot test the surface, however, you can use your feet to feel the density of the sand. Pay attention to what you feel in the balls of your feet. If you feel a ton of sand below you, then you know you will have to alter your angle of attack if you want any chance to get out of the bunker successfully.

So what do I mean by this?

The setting of your wrists has a very dynamic effect on how much the wedge digs in or skids through the sand (assuming you have an open face). When there is a surplus of sand, you will find that a steeper attack caused by the maximum cocking of your wrists makes it much easier for the wedge to work too vertical and dig too deep. When you dig too deep, you will lose control of the ball as there is too much sand between the blade and the ball — it will not spin as much and won’t have the distance control you normally have.

The secret to playing from softer sand is a longer and wider bunker swing with much less wrist-set than you would use on your stock bunker shot. This action stops the club from digging too deep and makes it easier for you to keep moving through the ball and achieving the distance you need.

3) Keep your pivot moving

It’s nearly impossible to keep the rotation of your shoulders going when you take too much sand at impact, and the ball comes up short in that situation every time. When you take less sand, you will have a much easier time keeping your pivot moving. This is the final key to good soft-sand bunker play.

You have made your longer and more shallow backswing and are returning to the ball not quite as steeply as you normally do which is good… now the only thing left to do is keep your rear shoulder rotating through impact and beyond. This action helps you to make a fuller finish, and one that does not lose too much speed when the club impacts the sand. If you dig too deep, you cannot keep the rear shoulder moving and your shots will consistently come up short.

So if you are in a bunker with new sand, or an abundance of sand, remember to change your bounce, adjust your angle of attack, and keep your pivot moving to have a fighting chance.

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