Do you go to the practice facility and hit a large bucket of balls with no systematic plan? If so, you are wasting your time.

Remember that, in golf, practice does not make perfect. Golf is one of the few sports where you practice someplace different from where you play. Therefore, you need strategies to make your practice sessions beneficial and help you take your practice to the course.

Your best plan is to get an instructor who will teach you the fundamentals and what you need to work on during your practice session. Practice as soon as possible after a lesson.

Find a golf professional who offers supervised practice sessions for students. This will motivate you to practice with a “trained eye” close by. I will walk the range at various times at Sun City, and golfers can “Ask the Golf Doctor” for a practice tip.

Here are some strategies for purposeful practice:

  • Go to the range with a practice list: Identify the clubs you want to hit with and your goal for hitting with them.
  • Warm up by swinging your favorite club with a smooth tempo.
  • Always make sure your fundamentals of grip, aim, alignment, posture and ball position are correct before you work on any mechanics.
  • I highly recommend the use of training aids. You should not be practicing on the range unless you are using alignment rods.
  • Go through your pre-shot routine every few shots. Start behind the ball, pick an intermediate target and visualize the shot you want to hit.
  • If you are working on a swing change, you need to be able to feel the difference between the old and new movement. The key is to focus on the process, and not the outcome.
  • Change targets and clubs after every few shots.

Once you have practiced your new swing changes, I recommend taking them out on the course for a dress rehearsal. However, don’t keep score, and just become comfortable with the new swing.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional at Sun City Hilton Head.;