One of the secrets to success in golf for Tiger Woods is practice. Practice, practice, practice. True, Tiger Woods started golfing at an early age and became very good at it. But if you listen to Hank Haney, Tiger Woods’ golf instructor for six years, Tiger Woods practices, practices a lot and practices in a very specific way.
Practice is important for any golfer who wants to improve and get better at the game of golf. There are no real shortcuts to a better golf swing. You may say someone is a “natural” but even that will only take an athlete so far. You need to practice to become better. And those who desire to achieve greatness in the game of golf must put in an enormous amount of work. A lot of great golfers will tell you the harder they work the “luckier” they become. They are able to hit golf shots that most people can only dream about because they practiced them. They prepared ahead of time on the practice range for when they would need that type of shot on the golf course.
Tiger Woods’ father started him playing golf at a very early age. Tiger was only 18 months old when he started swinging a golf club. But one of the other things his father also did that most people miss – or perhaps deliberately ignore – is that he also encouraged Tiger Woods to practice intensively. And years later, after many major successes in golf, Tiger Woods continues to follow that advice and has never stopped trying to improve his golf game. He has devoted many, many hours each and every day to to practice. Keep in mind that Tiger Woods has a golf coach! Why would he need a golf coach if he was such a natural? Why would Tiger Woods remake his swing twice in the midst of all that success? Because Tiger Woods wanted to be better and he continues to work at his golf game even now just as his father taught him.
According to Tiger Woods himself, his golf practice sessions range from seven to eight hours in length over each day. In between specific practice sessions during his day Tiger Woods will work to exercise and condition his body. And when he does practice he is focused and full of purpose.
Tiger will put in 2 hours of work on the range and on the course in the morning. That is followed by thirty minutes to an hour of practice on his putting. Around noon Tiger will then play nine holes of golf, observing his own golf game and where he needs to improve his game. Then in his afternoon session, Tiger Woods will put in another 3 to 4 hours of on-course work, focusing on his golf swing and his short game. Occasionally, his afternoon practice session will include another nine holes playing golf. That’s what Tiger Woods does to improve his golf game – how do you improve yours?
Hank Haney has said that Tiger Woods focuses on every single golf shot he makes in practices. He works to hit them high or low, left or right, hooking them or slicing them on purpose, practicing to hit every type of shot with each and every club he may need to in the middle of an actual game. Hank Haney says “I think Tiger now has a lot of purpose in his practice swings; you can certainly see that he’s taking a lot more of them. You can also see that Tiger is really trying to capture and groove a feeling before he hits a shot. Sometimes you can tell he’s trying to over-exaggerate something in his practice swing to really get a feeling that is opposite of what he feels is his mistake tendency.”
Is that how you practice your golf game to get better?