The Benefits of Random Practice

/ By Jon Sherman, Owner - Practical Golf

One of the most common frustrations for golfers is being unable to bring performance on the practice tee to the course. A lot of it has to do with their inability to practice effectively.

In this article, I want to explore one of my favorite features on SkyTrak, and how I believe it will help give more meaning to your practice sessions and build more skills that can transfer to the course.


Practice Like You Play

On the golf course, you only get one chance to hit a shot. Yet the majority of players will spend their practice sessions hitting the same clubs to the same targets over and over again. This is commonly referred to as block practice. It certainly has its merits, but I want to introduce another concept that you should explore.

Random practice is when you change your target with each shot. It’s something I try to do in every practice session, and I always encourage other golfers to try it out.

The reason I like it so much is that it does the following:

  • Makes you go through a similar process of changing targets and club selections that you would during a round
  • Random practice avoids mindlessly hitting balls (which can prevent you from building skills)
  • Adds more pressure and meaning to each shot

When I first purchased my SkyTrak, a randomized practice setting was not part of their software package. But after plenty of users asking for it, they have added the option. I’ll show you a typical process I try and go through during my sessions.

Wedges

I believe random practice is best used on your wedge play. The majority of golfers are missing more than 50% of their greens in regulation during rounds, which means they are usually faced with wedge recovery shots from various yardages. Being able to get the ball on the putting surface is a critical skill, which can help eliminate double bogeys and help you card more bogeys and pars.

Every session on my SkyTrak begins by selecting random yardages between 30 – 80. You can change the size of the green based on your skill level. 

What I’m mostly looking for is help honing in my distance control. When I can feel what a 50-yard wedge shot is like during practice then I can transfer that over to the course. I’m more confident than ever on these awkward” wedge distances, and it’s mainly because I have been able to put in the time at home working on them.

Challenge Yourself

I will also do a few other variations of iron practice using the random practice feature. When I want to work on my short irons, I’ll select yardages between 100 – 150. With mid to long irons, I’ll choose 150 – 200+ yards. Lastly, I will choose 30 – 200+ yards to go through almost every club in the bag.

One thing I would encourage all of you to do is to make it a game and challenge yourself. Keep note of how many greens in regulation you can score. Try to improve on those numbers over time, and if you find it’s becoming too easy, you can then select smaller green targets.

Overall, this is why random practice can be so powerful. You are giving each shot meaning, and trying to apply pressure on yourself that you would face on the golf course. Being engaged, having a purpose, and fun are all parts of successful practice. I believe all of these boxes get checked when you choose to change your target every time.

About The Author

Jon Sherman is the owner of Practical Golf, a website dedicated to being an honest resource for the everyday golfer who is looking to enjoy the game more, as well as improve. He is the author of the bestselling book 101 Mistakes All Golfers Make (and how to fix them). You can find him on Twitter (@practicalgolf) where he is happy to chat about golf with anyone.