Save Money, Save Time, Get Better

If I told you that you could get better at golf while spending less time and saving money, is that something you’d be interested in?  I would think so.  So here’s the magical tip that can achieve all three things:

Hit Fewer Golf Balls (3)

Hit Fewer Balls

Skeptical?  Try this: think of the guy at your range with the best swing and the guy with the worst swing.  Now, which one of them is standing in front of a jumbo bucket of range balls?  In my experience, Mr. Jumbo Bucket is almost always the guy with the worst swing on the range.

But why?  It’s so counterintuitive!  Mr. Jumbo Bucket hits so many balls that he should be getting better, right?  Wrong!  Getting better is not about the sheer volume of balls that you hit, it’s about what you put into your practice time.  The two things that Mr. Jumbo Bucket lacks are FOCUS and PURPOSE.

It’s the same as in any other sport.  When I coached basketball, players tried to impress me by saying that they were in the gym for 6 hours.  I’d tell them that they can’t possibly practice at game speed for 6 hours, so all they did was waste a lot of time.  You need to practice like you play.


In an average round of golf, you hit about 40 full shots over the course of 4 hours.  A really good player will have total focus on most, but not all, of those shots.  So, if a good player can’t focus completely on 40 shots in 4 hours, how can you expect to focus on 150 shots in one or two hours?  You can’t.  And there’s no sense in practicing if you’re not focused.


The other piece of the puzzle is purpose.  Mr. Jumbo Bucket has no purpose to his shots.  He doesn’t have a clear target or a clear mental picture of what he’s trying to do with the ball.  Nor does he have any thought of the mechanics he’s trying to work on.  In short, he doesn’t have any chance of getting better.  If you don’t have a clear purpose to your practice, it’s not really practice, it’s just exercise.

Try This:

So the next time you head to the range, buy 50 balls or less, have a clear purpose for each shot, and really give each one your full focus.  If you start practicing like this, you’ll start to get big results from your range sessions.

Watch The Video

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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  1. Matt, this is great advice. One thing you might want to consider is a number of balls/shots to warm the muscles up. Personally, I need 12-15 shots with the wedge and a short iron to get warmed up. Then I am ready to practice with a purpose.

  2. Good point, Matt. I’m almost always through a bucket of balls – and sweated through my shirt – well before my buddies. But when I treat the range more like a classroom than a weight room I find myself making “that last one count” a lot more often.

  3. Great Video: I always take the smallest bucket of balls to the range. Our buckets are 60 – 90 – 120 balls. I take about 15 balls to warm up. I hit 30 to 35 in practice always focussing on one or two clubs only. The last ten balls or so I imagine myself on the golf course playing a long par five for example. I start with driver and if I have a good ball flight I may use a wood etc. If I have a poor ball flight I might use a hybrid or iron. I find this a great tool in staying focused on my game

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