PRACTICE. This is one word which we, as professional golfers never get enough of.
When I first turned pro back in 2015, I was in the middle of a swing change. Not the ideal situation, especially when I was just starting my career.
However, in order to be competitive, I needed to be have a more stable swing. So, I started to work with Chris O’Connell, one of the top coaches in the US.
Our goal was to move from a timing-based swing to a more consistent swing. Boy! What a tough time it was. It took me quite awhile as I had to totally revamp my swing.
I persevered and I am very happy that I managed to get it to the level we wanted it to be at. All this, takes a lot of practice and a whole load of patience.
The funny thing is, when I was growing up, my parents never had to nag me to practice.
It was I who would chase them to take us to the range or to work on our short game.
So practice is a very positive word for me. I don’t go out and hit 500 balls at one go. I usually just hit about 100 to 150 balls as I believe that quality practice is important. I always practice with a goal in mind, what I want to achieve in that practice session.
For example, my coach and I had to make some tweaks to my swing in order to facilitate my wrist. It takes some getting used but when I get it together, it is awesome.
For this period, I work on the tweaks and the drills which he has given me. Like it or not, it still goes back to the main point, which is to practice so that I can get consistency off the tee.
Then, the short game. This is such a crucial part of the game and I can’t stress enough the importance of spending time practicing the short game.
For me, I find working with the Trackman very effective. I get to work on my distances and my shots to be more accurate. Playing at this level is hugely demanding.
We have to be creative, we have to take calculated risks and sometimes, even trick shots! So, it still boils down to practice.
I work on the creativity, testing all sorts of shots and create scenarios to take risks.
Practicing this way helps me reduce anxiety and fear when I am faced with such shots in an actual tournament.
Shot shaping is also key here, especially with my mid irons. I’m still working on that to make it move the way I want it to, when I want it to.
Putting is one of the hardest clubs to practice, yet it is also the easiest. Easiest in a sense that you could practice anywhere, indoor in your room, in the office, in the hall, in a hotel room.
All you’ll need is a putting matt or carpet. However, it is also the most difficult as putting involves line reading and grain reading, apart from the putting stroke.
Luckily for me, the putter is one of my favourites and I can spend hours on the green, just putting.
I also work with some putting aids and that helps me hone my putting skills. After so many years of being a professional golfer, practice has become an integral part of my life.
Luckily for me, I love practicing almost as much as I love playing the game. So keep practicing hard and practice smart, it just makes your game better and stronger. Till next time, Gav Talks.