Practice is hugely important in any sport.
t allows us to refine our technique, develop feel and generally improve our performance. However, how you practice is really important and there are many different ways to practice in golf. The two most predominant practice methods are technical practice and competitive practice.
1. Technical practice
This is where technique is refined. Lots of golf balls are hit or putted and changes are made to the movements of the body so that the golf ball can be controlled more easily or consistently. Most golfers participate in technical practice regularly and hit golf balls on the practice ground or driving range or go to the practice putting green to refine their putting stroke.
2. Competitive practice
This is where the mental aspects of the game are refined. Competitive practice is about improving concentration, confidence and decision-making. It is also about practicing to compete under pressure. During this practice competition is involved, only one ball is used and no physical technique is changed. Not many golfers practice this side of the game.
Practicing putting with one ball is important to hone the competitive practice side of the golf game. On the golf course you only have one chance and so it is important to practice with that kind of pressure, to get used to it and be able to deal with it and to perform to your full potential.
How to practice competitively on the putting green.
This is all about the routine that you would use on the golf course. Take one ball and a scorecard out on to the practice putting green. You are going to play nine holes and score each hole. It does not matter about the length of the holes that you play, only that you score them all properly with no gimme's or mulligans.
Every putt you take must be taken as if it was a putt on the golf course. This means a full pre-shot routine. Mark the golf ball, read the putt, walk around it, pick your aim point, take your practice swings, step into the ball, check you have aimed correctly and finally pull the trigger. Now fill in your score card and move to the next hole.
Once you have played nine holes, keep the score card and then play again the next time you practise and try to beat your score. This practice routine must be taken seriously, if it is you are performing perfect competitive practice, your putting will improve on the golf course and you will be able to handle the pressure that comes with important putts.