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How to Set Up a Practice Station

Lesson Pics (3)

Why the Pros are Better

Many people write off the differences between pros and themselves as being about talent.  While there’s no doubt that the average golfer doesn’t have the raw physical tools of a Tiger Woods or Dustin Johnson, this ignores another equally important factor: they practice better.  Not longer or harder, better.  What’s the easiest way to upgrade your practice?  I’m glad you asked.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You are struggling with accuracy on the course

You hit quality shots that don’t end up on target

You practice but don’t see results on the course

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You Need Feedback

Practicing anything requires feedback.  You need clear signals to tell you, “Doing X led to a good result.  Doing Y led to a bad result.”  Without clear feedback, all you’re doing is hoping that improvement will magically happen.  Unfortunately, this is how most golfers practice.

Think Scientifically

Practicing is essentially a series of little experiments, so let’s think scientifically.  A good experiment requires that you control all the variables except one, so what are the variables that we can control?  Alignment, ball position, and distance from the ball would be at the top of my list, with alignment being #1.  If you don’t control these things, they can cause your feedback to be unclear.  For example: the ball went right, but was it a bad swing or bad alignment?  Thankfully, you can control all of those factors by…

Lesson Pics (4)

Setting Up a Practice Station

If you’ve ever seen tour pros practicing, you’ve probably noticed that they almost always have a club or stick on the ground to check their alignment.  This is key to their effective practice and one of the reasons why they practice better than most golfers.

For my students, I recommend a practice station with 3 alignment rods, set up as shown above.  Start by aiming one rod at your target.  Next, lay a second rod parallel to the first (I like to use a ruler or golf club to check that they’re parallel).  Finally, I lay a third stick perpendicular to the first.

The two parallel rods act as a channel for my swing.  I put my feet on or near the closer rod, and having the outside rod helps me to aim my club face more accurately.  The third rod is for ball position and can help you to maintain a consistent distance from the ball.

Lesson Pics (7)

Now Your Feedback is Clear

Since you’ve removed the possibilities of being aimed incorrectly, having inconsistent ball positions, or being too close or far from the ball, the feedback you will get from practice will be much clearer.


I hope you take this idea to the range with you, and I hope that it helps you to get more results out of your practice.  I think that with this practice station, you will start to realize that your shots are much more consistent than you think!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

Matt Saternus
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  1. Cedric Theofanous

    I’ve worked with an instructor who has several PGA tour players and he told me that this was the most important thing I could do for my golf game. I’ve set one of these up every time I’ve been on the range since!

  2. I’ve never actually practiced with a purpose before and I think this could really help me. Thanks for the great pictures, I’ll be setting this up on the range from now on.

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