If you’re like 99 percent of golfers, a practice session consists of hitting multiple shots with one club to a single target, repeating with another club, and so on through the bag.
This is called “blocked practice,” and it’s great for fine-tuning your muscle memory, making a swing change or working on a new move. According to research, however, it may also instill false confidence based on successfully achieving the same task over and over. After all, it bears little resemblance to the way golf is played on the course.
That’s why it’s a good idea to mix in what’s called “random practice.” With this method, you change clubs and targets on every shot – just like you do during an actual round. You may also vary your shot shapes, trajectory and how hard you swing from one ball to the next.
There are different ways to go about random practice. You can make it completely random, of course, by picking a club as though blindfolded. Or you can replicate the on-course experience. For instance, if hole No. 1 is a par 4 where you normally hit a driver and a 6-iron, “play” the hole by visualizing its features and hitting the necessary shots on the range.
You may finish a random practice session feeling as though you didn’t perform your best, but you may well see results where it really matters – on the golf course itself.