Five Creative Ways to Sharpen Your Game
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy

Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at

Practice When & Where You Can

I realize a small percentage of golfers belong to a private club, or have access to a good practice facility at their favorite course. And that spending time with your golf game several times per week can get expensive. This topic was brought to my attention by Erik, who wrote about the difficulty and expense of getting enough practice and playing time in with his 10-year-old son. Here's a paraphrase of Erik’s thoughtful email:
“My 10 year old son and I picked up the game last year. We are having a great time playing. My question is about the cost of this game . . . it’s expensive . . . I can only afford for us to play once a week, maybe 6 times a month at best. When you don’t play that often it makes it hard to improve. The local driving range, where my son will take lessons, has a 3-hole loop of par 3 holes . . . a nice putting green and short game area. The cost for both of us . . . would allow us to play far more often. I would like to know your thoughts on this situation.”
Erik, I say go for it at the cost you related to me. There’s no substitute for practice, and the short game skills will translate to the rest of your game quickly and easily. Both you and your son would benefit from the time together practicing chipping, pitching and your short games, and each session could end with a bucket of range balls to work on your full swing skills.

One of my favorite golf instructional books is Tom Watson’s “Getting Up & Down”. In it, he shares how his father taught him the game from the hole backward, and he always . . . to this day . . . finds the last stroke on any hole to be the best – making it go in the hole is the entire objective, he says, so he finds it enjoyable. Not many of us have that approach, do we?

But even short of the ability to have a practice facility like you describe, there are many ways you can work on your golf game away from the links or range. Here are my five favorite ways to keep your game sharp and progressing, even when you don’t have time or available funds to go practice and/or play:
1. Read! There’s no substitute for learning, and I don’t mean just instructional books. Invest some evening time reading about the great players of golf’s history and your game will improve I’ll bet. And you and your son can enjoy this together.

2. Watch! There is a lot to be learned from TV golf, both live tournaments and the many shows on the Golf Channel, plus great videos . . . again, both of the instructional and entertainment variety. Besides, they are enjoyable.

3. Practice Your Putting. You don’t have to invest in a several hundred dollar putting device. Go to your Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a sheet of plywood and a 4’ wide strip of smooth carpet – like a commercial grade. Glue the carpet down onto the sheet of plywood and you’ve got a good putting practice platform that can stand up against the garage wall when you are not using it. I like to putt at small targets when I practice short putts like this – quarters are good. It makes the hole look huge on the course when you are inside 10 feet or so.

4. Practice chipping. All you need is a practice mat and small net, which can be found online for less than $50. Use it in your garage or backyard, perfecting your technique to build consistent impact and trajectory.

5. Find your own “range”. In every neighborhood there are schoolyards, vacant fields, etc, that are mowed close enough for you to hit (and find) balls hit with full swings. If space is a factor, get some of the “Almost Golf” balls that only go a short distance. That mat might be necessary if you can’t find decent turf, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you put your imagination to it, you can find lots of economical ways to improve your game away from the course or range. These are five ideas that I’ll share, and I’ll bet dollars to donuts that these readers will come up with a bunch more.

And Erik, congratulations on winning a new EIDOLON wedge. Because we love to support the introduction of the game to kids, we’re going to cut down a demo wedge for your son, too!!! I’ll contact you privately to get some feedback on his size and needs.

* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

photo source
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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