How often should you practice golf vs playing a round?

Table of Contents

TL;DR: Golf practice is essential for improving your game, but finding the right balance between practice and playing rounds is key. Here are the main takeaways from this article:

  • Understanding the importance of golf practice and how it contributes to improvement.
  • Factors to consider when deciding how often to practice.
  • Developing a routine that fits your schedule and allows for consistent practice.
  • Different types of practice to incorporate, including drills and short game training.
  • Balancing practice with playing rounds to enhance your skills.
  • The significance of tracking your progress and adjusting your practice accordingly.
  • Tips for making practice sessions enjoyable and engaging.


As a retired professional golfer, I have spent countless hours both on the golf course and on the practice range. One question that I am frequently asked is, "How often should I practice golf versus playing a round?" It's a common dilemma for golfers of all skill levels, and finding the right balance between practice and playing can greatly impact your game. In this article, I will share my insights and recommendations on golf practice frequency to help you optimize your training and improve your performance on the course. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or just starting out, understanding the importance of practice and knowing how much time to devote to it can be a game-changer. So, let's dive in and explore the best practices for honing your skills and achieving your golfing goals.

Understanding the Importance of Golf Practice

Golf, just like any other sport, requires a commitment to consistent training and practice. Proper practice can make the difference between a mediocre player and an excellent one. It is through practice that golfers hone their skills, improve their performance, and build self-confidence on the golf course.

The Role of Practice in Golf Improvement

Every shot in golf requires a unique blend of precision, power, and control. The player must get the ball to the hole in as few strokes as possible, which requires mastery over a wide variety of shots. It is in the realm of practice that this kind of mastery can be developed. For instance, it's a known saying that drive for show, putt for dough, implying that perfecting your short games through continuous practice will always pay off in your game results.

Why Consistent Golf Practice is Key

Consistency means repeating the right actions over and over again. In golf, this concept applies to both your swing mechanics and your practice routines. The more frequently you practice, the more deeply ingrained your golf swing will become. Experts at Golf Digest remind us that practicing consistently helps golfers develop their skills faster, as the more time spent swinging, putting, and strategizing, translates directly into a better performance on the course. Consistency also allows golfers to pick up on small intricacies of their techniques, thus enabling them to make necessary tweaks.

In summary, recognizing the importance of golf practice is the first step in getting better at golf. Through steady practice, players can improve their game, boost their confidence, and maximize their potential on the golf course.

Determining the Right Frequency for Golf Practice

Determining the right frequency for golf practice can greatly impact your rate of improvement and overall performance. It's crucial to find a balance between too little and overtraining, allowing you to reap the benefits of consistent practice without burning out or risking injury. This section explores factors to consider when deciding how often to practice and how to implement a practice routine that fits seamlessly into your schedule.

Considerations for Deciding How Often to Practice

When deciding how often to practice golf, several factors come into play. The first consideration should be your specific golf goals. Are you just playing golf for recreation or do you have some serious professional aspirations? Your level of commitment will largely dictate the necessary frequency of your practice. In addition, your physical condition, accessibility to a golf course, available free time, and other commitments are crucial factors to consider. The sport itself, which is more about finesse and technique than physical prowess, benefits from regular practice, ideally little and often.

Implementing a Routine that Suits Your Schedule

After considering the above factors, you need to implement a routine that suits your schedule. Plan your weekly practice sessions and stick to them strictly. Whether it's early in the morning before work, during lunchtime breaks, or in the evenings, find a time slot that you can consistently commit to. Be realistic about the time you can dedicate to golf and ensure it doesn’t interfere with your daily life balance.

Time management apps can be handy to remind you of your golf practice sessions and ensure you stay on track. Remember, consistency in practice is crucial for improvement. Make sure you are practicing enough to build the muscle memory needed to improve your golf swing and game outcomes. Additionally, understand that improvement takes time and patience. Overworking will not necessarily lead to faster improvement, but may lead to injuries. It's about quality of practice, not quantity.

Types of Golf Practice Needed to Improve Your Game

The essence of improving your golf game lies in the variety and quality of your practice. Understanding the different types of golf practice equips you with the necessary skill set to drastically improve your game. It's essential to execute both general and strategic practices to develop dexterity and precision in golf.

Drills and Techniques to Incorporate in Your Practice

Incorporating various drills and techniques into your practice can work wonders to boost your competence. It enables you to focus on different areas of the sport, helping you replicate scenarios that might occur during a game. With drills, you engage in repetitive training that significantly improves your golfing skills. Work on your swing drills, putting drills, and chipping drills, as these are integral to excelling in the sport. This Golf Practice Drills article gives you practical guidance on efficient drills to integrate into your training.

Simultaneously, mindfully incorporating different techniques into various aspects of your training refines your skills. Techniques like bunker shot, chip shot and pitch shot can enhance the quality of your practice. The Tips and techniques section of the Golf Channel's website provides an abundance of useful golfing techniques that can be integrated into your practice games.

The Importance of Short Game Practice in Golf

An area of golf practice often neglected but of immense importance is the short game practice. This involves shots taken on or near the green, including pitching, chipping, bunker shots, and putting. By practicing your short game, you drastically lower your scores as this is the quickest way to enhance your game.

Most amateur golfers overlook the significance of the short game and in the process, miss opportunities to lower their scores. Your driver may get you off the tee, but it's your short game that gets you into the hole. Incorporating a healthy short game practice routine allows you to recover from your mistakes, save par, and even make birdies. So, adjust your golf practice sessions by dedicating a significant portion of your time to the short game. It will undeniably be a game-changer.

Balancing Golf Practice with Playing Rounds

Having a balance between golf practice and playing rounds is a crucial factor in fostering improvement and maintaining interest in golf. Too much emphasis on either can lead to stagnation in skills and performance. Incorporating a variety of practice drills and on-course play makes golfers not only develop skills but also understand how to deploy them strategically during rounds.

How Often Should You Play on the Course

Determining the frequency of playing rounds in the golf course depends on several factors, such as your golfing goals, available time, and skill level. As a general rule, recreational golfers can aim to play a full round once a week. Meanwhile, competitive golfers who aim for significant improvement or preparation for tournaments may need to play more rounds each week.

The American Junior Golf Association, for example, recommends their athletes play 2-3 rounds during the weekend following their practice sessions during weekdays. Playing rounds provide the real-life golfing scenario that helps translate learned skills into practical ability.

Using Your Rounds to Complement Your Practice

On-course rounds should not be merely for competition or scoring. Your time on the golf course is an excellent opportunity to bring your practice to life. It's important to focus on applying the skills and techniques you've worked on during practice sessions.

If you practiced bunker shots, use your rounds to assess how well your bunker shots are improving. Strive to identify areas where your practice has paid off and where it still lacks.

Golf influencer and coach Rick Shiels advises golfers to treat their rounds like practice sessions. By doing so, golfers can make real-time analysis and adjustments – a critical step towards honing their golfing skills.

Remember, practice and playing rounds should be complementary components of your golf improvement journey. One provides the skills and techniques, while the other offers a practical platform to apply and perfect them. When balanced well, these facets can provide a robust foundation for steady golfing improvement.

Tracking Your Progress and Adjusting Your Practice

The art of improvement can only truly be mastered with a keen understanding of progression. This pertains to golf as much as any other practice-based skill. Monitoring your progress and constantly fine-tuning your practice sessions is vital in the process of becoming an accomplished golfer. It's an iterative process — practice, track, adjust, repeat.

Why Recording Your Practice Sessions Matters

Recording your golf practice sessions plays an important role in your path to improvement. Note-taking, video sessions, and analytics software can be utilized to document your progress. By recording, you can visually analyze your stances, swings, and improvements in your game over time — somewhat similar to a mirror reflecting your strengths and areas that need work. For example, you might notice a fault in your swing path or body alignment which you wouldn't have spotted otherwise. Keeping a thorough record gives you concrete evidence of how you're progressing and assists you in keeping subsequent sessions as productive as possible.

Making Adjustments Based on Your Performance Evolution

Becoming a better golfer isn't just about rigorous practice; it's about practicing smart. Once you have recorded your practice sessions and understood your current skill level, you must adjust your practice routine as per your performance evolution. Sometimes, an overemphasis on one aspect of the game can result in the neglect of another, causing an imbalance. This can be identified through recorded sessions. Adjustment could include working on weaker areas, practicing different techniques or drills, or even seeking advice from a professional coach. Websites like Golf Channel Academy provide expert opinions that can guide you through making right adjustments. Regularly reviewing your progress and making necessary modifications is the secret recipe to a successful golf career.


While practice in golf is considerably important, understanding its purpose, and achieving a balance between practicing and playing rounds is even more vital. To determine the right frequency, consider your unique circumstances and set a routine that suits your schedule. Focus not only on practicing long game but also short game techniques to enhance various aspects of your skills. Make sure to record your practice sessions to track your progress and make necessary adjustments. Keeping your practice sessions interesting with games and challenges will maintain your engagement and enthusiasm in the game. In essence, the ideal golf practice frequency is a personalized balance between quality practice, fun rounds on the course, and adequate rest. This approach will help not only to improve your game but also to derive more enjoyment from golf. So, stick around for more straight-shooting tips on your journey to become a skilled and happy golfer.

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