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How to make the most of your practice time

Vijay Singh, center, led a group up the 18th fairway during a practice round at The Players Championship in May.

The Florida Times-Union/AP

Vijay Singh, center, led a group up the 18th fairway during a practice round at The Players Championship in May.

Everybody who enjoys golf likely spends time at the driving range or putting green. But is it really practice?

That depends on how you use the time. Susan Bond, the secretary of the New England PGA and a golf professional at Weekapaug Golf Club in Westerly, R.I., offers some short-game drills on how to get the most out of the time spent in the practice area.

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Bond writes:

“The next time you head out to your club or course to practice, make it purposeful. Start with the short game. One drill I like is to place four balls 3 feet from the hole. The goal is to make five putts in a row from each of the four spots (imagine standing on a clock, at 6 o’clock, 9, 12, and 3). You can’t move on to the next spot until you make five in a row. This drill has you making that critical-length putt: It’s the distance you would like your chip shot or pitch shot to finish within, or the maximum distance you’d want your first putt to finish from the hole if you are putting from a long way away.

“Next, work on pitching or chipping with 10 balls. Chip or pitch to a specific hole. After the first set of 10 shots, ask yourself how many you’d be satisfied with. Then try and increase the number of good shots each time.

“This type of practice gives you goals and you can track your progress; going out and just ‘hitting golf balls’ isn’t really helping you improve. Pick a target and set some goals to challenge yourself.”

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.
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