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Switch Clubs For Better Practice
by Janet Nelson

While working as a volunteer at the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot CC, I was stationed at the practice range and had the opportunity to watch the pros practice at length. I found one observation particularly surprising and interesting.

Most amateur golfers when practicing use just one, two or at the most four clubs for the entire session. However, the pros I saw at Winged Foot practiced with every club in their bag. They also switched quite often from one club to the next, not necessarily in a strict numerical order. In other words, they would hit a few balls with a short iron, then switch to a long iron, then back to another short iron, before going back to a wood and so on.

This method coincides with a new teaching theory called random practice that is used at several colleges. It means that your practice method is as varied as the sport being played. In golf, for instance, on one hole you hit a driver, then use a 3-iron for a lay-up and maybe a pitching wedge to reach the green. Random practice simulates this switching to different lengths and lofted clubs. Random practice is used in such diverse disciplines as baseball, badminton, typing and spelling, and has produced significant improvement over the more conventional repetitive-action drills. Try it the next time you go to the practice range.

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