For God's Sake, Stop Wasting Your Time and Money

Drinking Coffee, Flying a Kite and Watching Masterchef… What do all these three things have in common? Well they will all actually improve your game equally in comparison to the average amateurs actual practise efforts. In fact if you happen to watch Masterchef you may actually learn to cook a meal which may support you in the times when golf just can’t cheer you up anymore.

Ok right now you are probably thinking what the hell is this guy going on about, there is a point to this article (I hope). As a teaching professional it often astounds me that so many amateurs spend their hard earned money on equipment and range balls without ever significantly improving their game. Take a read of these three stereotypes I see everyday at the range and let me know if any of them may just be familiar (not you of course):

Good ol’ Rake n Belt

This particular player turns up with the largest bucket of balls and intends to hit it in world record time, raking every ball over without a specific intended target or any clear goals as to what they are trying to achieve in the session. Noticeable traits of this practiser may be a stiff neck from never actually looking up to see where the ball goes, and shortness of breath due to the high cardio session they have managed to create.

Ray Charles helping Stevie Wonder out

This is one of my favourites! Here we have the blind leading the blind on the range analysing each others swings (maybe they even got a hold of the latest analysis app.). Both players tirelessly figure out each others swings with a new thought every 3 seconds as to what could potentially be going wrong (neither of each player has hit a fairway since Greg Norman was playing Junior Pennants but ultimately feel qualified to give private instruction).

7000 thoughts in 1.5 Seconds

This one I can actually identify with… This individual is the Over-Tryer. In all their greatest efforts they have read every magazine got a lesson from every professional within kooee and are trying to remember it all before they start their downswing. Look for this person buying a small bucket of balls and holding the space on a driving range for nearly 4 hours (talk about value for money!).

This leads us to the conclusion that the average amateur that practises really has never been taught the importance of quality training. Unfortunately Ben Hogan’s line of ‘the secret is in the dirt’ is often interpreted as ‘if i just bash the crap out of the ground I’ll get better’. If you want a bad back and a couple of hours away from your husband or wife then this method works a treat, but if you actually want to see some rewards for your efforts then you need to start training with some quality… training like a professional. We are so passionate about this form of training that we have created a new program for golf development here at PIGA.

Rules of Training Like a Professional

*Good Quality Practise = Fun. Nobody learns or wants to learn when it is a chore. Practise should not be a dirty word it should be a challenge and an activity you look forward to. Mix it up play some games with yourself or with a friend, hit some fun shots and get creative!

*Clarity and Direction. Seek ongoing expert advice from a PGA Member then apply what you have learnt, enjoy the process of chipping away, transforming your swing in to a more manageable and reliable movement.

*Allocate your time. Ensure when you are practising you are working on all areas of the game. Not just the parts that make you feel the best.

*Take Your Time. Take a breath between each shot! Look around listen to the birds, even try to spot the golfers who weren’t smart enough to read this article and collapsing into the pitfalls.

Great Drills for Practise

*Play The Range-Course – This one I learnt as a young golfer from Charlie Earp. Pretend you are playing the course. It could be your home course. I always loved playing Augusta and seeing what I could shoot on the back 9. Visualise the holes and notice by the end of your practise session that you may nearly use every club in your bag.

*Nine Flights – Great ball strikers can hit any shot on any occasion, why? Because they practise this way. Give yourself Nine Balls with three different flights and trajectories.

Take this test and let me know how you go:


*Medium Straight
*Medium Draw
*Medium Fade
*High Straight
*High Fade
*High Draw
*Low Straight
*Low Fade
*Low Draw

Written by Ask a Pro teaching panellist Darren Weatherall.

Darren is a former playing professional and is now Head Teaching Professional at Parkwood International Golf Course located on the Gold Coast of Australia.

His proven coaching methods have been created through working with experts in sports performance including Ian Triggs and sports psychologist Dr. Noel Blundell with research and training at the Jim McLean Academy in the United States. Darren is well educated and represents one of Australia finest young coaches, he has great communication skills and understands the many facets of golf coaching with a natural ability of bringing out the best is his students.

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