In the previous editions of the Discover Golf series by Golf Saudi, we have discussed how to explore and get comfortable with some of the basic shot types in golf. During that time you may have tried these on the driving range or at a golf course, or perhaps on a simulator, all great ways to get your golf game going. As you develop the way you practice it will have a huge bearing on how competent you become and today we will talk about exactly that….. Practice!

Practice makes perfect, is a term we hear all the time, but is it true? Well, no, unfortunately not, certainly not just any practice. However, good quality and purposeful practice can certainly get you on your way. Ensuring that we get the absolute most out of our practice sessions no matter if we do that to help enjoy golf more, lower our scores or simply out-drive our friends on the driving range, practice is crucial. Practicing the wrong thing, or in the wrong way puts us at risk of making this game of golf harder than it is. Here are my top three points to help you get the most out of your practice sessions and closer to achieving the goals you have set out for your golf.

1. Routine 

Routine, or pre-shot routine as it’s formally known, is something that I would recommend to any golfer of any ability. It is very common for golfers when practicing to repeatedly strike balls at an alarmingly quick speed. Hitting balls in this manner is not what you will encounter when you are on the golf course, yet many golfers do it with the belief that more is better. 

We want to focus on what we are trying to accomplish. To help with this I like to ask my students to take their time, often having a break between shots. A routine can follow this type of structure; they stand behind the ball determine the objectives, pick their target, ensure their own specific fundamentals are correct, allow themselves to become relaxed, and then make that smooth balanced motion which can help produce the best contacts. 

After the ball has landed (and we are still in our finish position), I would then encourage them to discuss with me, how their shot was. How was the direction? Did it go towards the intended target? Are they happy with the distance? Was the ball curving in the air, or did it fly straight? How did it compare to their objective and would it of worked out on the golf course? These are all internal questions that I would encourage you to ask after every shot to help have a deeper understanding of your objectives and gain quality feedback to allow you to do the most important thing… determine what to do differently next time.

It is incredibly advantageous to adopt your own routine. All the best golfers have one, but it is important to find your own one and ensure you repeat it the same way every time.

2. The target

Our objective can be different every time. It could be how far we want to hit it or more specific to the course how close we want it to go to the target. We can all very easily get into the bad habit of keeping the same target on the driving range, even when we change clubs. However, our journey on the golf course is quite different to this. On the course, we can aim at an array of different targets, the flagstick, bunkers, trees, buildings, and so the list goes on. In order to keep our minds engaged, as well as practicing aiming and also becoming more aware of our clubface relationship to the direction, I would recommend students not to hit more than 3 to 5 shots at the same target, without switching things up. Additionally, use your imagination and utilise everything around you to make your range experience as realistic as possible. Even the barest of practice ground can provide areas or corridors to hit the ball towards by using fence posts, trees or buildings on the horizon to build targets.

3. Changing club

This is probably something that we are all guilty of, no matter what our experience in this game. I often say to students, “How many times in a full round of golf (18 holes) would you hit a full 7-iron? Its full distance from a perfect lie, with no wind, to a non-elevated green?” The answer is that you will probably be lucky if you have this shot twice in a round – so why hit 70 balls like this? If we were to go off of the numbers, then the two most utilised clubs in a round of golf will most likely be the driver and putter. I would encourage students to get a feel for all clubs whilst at the driving range. Although some clubs are harder to hit than others and we all have our favourites, it is vital to become familiar and confident with all of them and the only way to reach this is through gaining experience with the whole bag. An additional benefit of altering your club more often in practice is how to move into the different amounts of bend in posture, stance widths and ball positions. All making you more adaptable and more aware of what you are doing ensuring when on the course, you are more capable of getting it right.


As we have seen here, it is vital to keep our practice sessions productive in order to get the most out of our time. We can now actually start to build everything here into a practice model. We are standing behind the ball to engrain our focus with a routine. Then, we choose a target that is different to the last, ensuring that our body is all set up accordingly, and then after hitting the shot, we process the strike to get as much feedback as possible. Oh, and then don’t forget to change club before we redo the process all over again.

Gilbert Hepburn is a PGA Teaching Professional at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club