Thursday, 4 April 2013

GRiP Zone - Effective Practice

How do you practice? Do you stand there hitting plenty of balls to get the mechanics right or do you pick specific targets? I have to be honest there have been times when I've been a slave to the range, especially after a lesson when I've been working on a drill or swing change. I've also been guilty of just standing there hitting and scraping the next ball almost before the first one has landed. Machine gun golf is not conducive to good practice.

I do try and be meticulous in my approach. I tend to walk off the mat after each shot, rehearse, especially if I am working on a change or feeling and go through my routine on each shot. However, I have always struggled to be dedicated in picking specific targets and so there is an argument that I am still not working on my game to my full potential.

Why the waffle? Why the questions? The truth is I've found a way to work on my game which is beginning to have some positive effect on my game. What is this magic process? It is called GRiP zone and is a series of realistic drills that help both the long and short game http://www.mygripzone.com/

It does cost £19,99 for Lite membership. For that you get the following
  • 12 Months GRiP Membership
  • Access to full suite of GRiP games (Long & Short Game)
  • GRiP Mobile app for iPhone & Android
  • Real-time performance charts
  • Connect and Communicate with your Coach
  • GRiP Online Academy - Effective Practice Tips

  • There is a more expensive Pro membership coming in at £39.99. This gives far more options and features
  • 12 Months GRiP Membership
  • Access to full suite of GRiP games (Long & Short Game)
  • GRiP Mobile app for iPhone & Android
  • Real-time performance charts & personal bests
  • Connect and Communicate with your Coach
  • All the goodies on offer for the Pro membership

    
    • GRiP Online Academy - Effective Practice Tips
    • Premium Leather Pad Holder - keep in your golf bag or pocket
    • 4x Short Game pads (288 drills)
    • 4x Long Game pads (288 drills
    I opted for the Pro version. I wanted to be able to communicate with my coach and report back on my progress and the pads are useful to record my session if my mobile or I-Pad isn't available.

    So how does it all work. Well for the long game there are three drills. There is a driving drill, mid iron drill and wedge drill where you pick a target for each distance either at the range or on the practice ground and record on the app or the chart where each shot went. Record the scores and upload and it records your personal best score and charts progress over time.

    There are also two putting drills for holing out from close range and for distance control and a very challenging one for the short game where balls are dropped into easy, medium and difficult lies and you try and get up and down. If you miss the putt, you have to go through the full routine and ensure you hole out.



    I've been using this at most of my range and practice sessions. I tend to warm up with a dozen or so wedges and mid-irons and then go through the drills starting with the wedge and then the mid iron and finishing off with the driver. I find it gives my session some structure. From there I will go back and work on my technique and any drills. I find by going for the targets first I don't get too wrapped up in technical thoughts.

    There are plans to introduce more drills including some for the bunker. The GRiP zone are online on social media such as Twitter and Facebook and are usually very responsive if you post feedback or comments. I'm not saying these drills will make you a good golfer, and of course if the technique is suspect then there will always be issues although utilising a good PGA pro for lessons can go a long way to helping. What it does do though is give your session a framework. It stops the machine gunner, banging ball after ball. It forces you to go through your routine and so replicates what you would do on the course. Read any of the stuff from the likes of Karl Morris and Bob Rotella and they make a big deal of how important a good routine is. This will help you develop and find something that works for you.

    I am a big fan of GRiP zone. It has already started to show patterns, particularly on things like my driving which has been a weakness and I can get a feel for where my misses are. This means I can go back to my teaching pro and feed this back and we can then work on the fault and fix. Similarly, I have had a habit of missing too many greens with a wedge in my hand so this gets me to focus. It does becoming a battle trying to make as many as you can in each session.

    The short putting drill has started to make me more confident holing out and that means I am not so concerned with having to be so precise from distance. Of course this doesn't mean I have a gung ho and cavalier attitude. Rhys ap Iolo my teaching pro pointed out during my recent playing lesson that I am sometimes too aggressive and has said that from unrealistic distances, two putts are acceptable and trying to make everything can leave too many tricky ones back. This means more work is needed on the distance drill to feel my distances better.

    If your practice lacks focus this may be the ideal thing for you. The fact that the app can be downloaded to phone and pad and that you can leave the drill pads (Pro version) in your bag means there is no excuse not to have access to the drills and record your scores. I would recommend it and it gets an 8.5 out of 10 from me. If I was going to be picky, the lack of bunker drills is a negative and the drill videos are perhaps a little on the cheesy and patronising side. Those minor gripes aside it is a great product. Why not try it and see. How do you practice? Properly or are you only playing at practicing.

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