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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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Stickney: How to practice like you play

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As I have written in previous articles, there are two different types of practice you can do when you go to the range. One is hyper-focused on swing mechanics. And the other is focused on working on things you will find yourself having to do on the golf course in order to score.

These are the things I focus on when working on my swing, because my misses are mainly slight pulls like this one below from time to time:

These factors are the ones I find most helpful when working on MY swing fundamentals.  Your misses and your swing focus may be totally different and that is OK. Remember, it’s here that we are ONLY working on your golf swing.

When I feel like my mechanics are under control, I tend to go to the range to focus on hitting shots — you know, the ones I must use on the golf course every time I play.  This is the key to scoring…hitting shots! Not working on my mechanics.  These types of practice times help me to learn how to PLAY golf.

When I do this I usually focus on a few areas to fine tune my “feels” so I can be a shotmaker:

I start by hitting a shot at partial speed and then trying to hit each successive ball just past the last one.  This helps me to gain better yardage control, and therefore I seldom have in-between yardages I can’t handle.

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As a player who moves the ball from left to right 90 percent of the time, it is important for me to also work on curving the ball the opposite way because sometimes I will have to do so on the course.  Working on curing the ball the opposite way keeps your swing sharp and helps if you are tending to move the ball too much in the other direction. This drill helps me to feel the opposite curvature than what is normal in my world.

Now comes the fun drill hitting the ball both directions and curving the ball as much as I possibly can and still find the target.  Here I am exaggerating curving the ball so I can get myself out of trouble on the course or find a pin that is tucked way right or left on the green.  This drill helps me to fine tune my ball control.

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