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Often, when young golfers practice, they just try to hit balls as hard and as far as they can. Those big swings look good and, since high-end video technology is readily available, it's easy to get locked into appearances.
Randy Peterson, Callaway Golf's director of fitting and instruction, who does the fittings for PGA Tour pro Phil Mickelson, knows how important it is for golfers to work on their intermediate game. “At a tour level, the closer you get to the green, the more important the shots become," says Peterson. “The pros tailor their practice sessions.”
Mickelson has developed a drill that helps him gain better feel on those in-between shots. “You see a lot of kids standing on the range making full swings, hitting the shot without paying attention to the outcome,” says Peterson. Mickelson cares less about how these shots look and more about where he can put the ball.
His Iron Distance Drill is a great way to get more accurate with your iron shots. Mickelson sets up towels at 10-yard intervals, from 40 to 140 yards out from the green. Then, he tries to drop the ball right on the towel. “He’s feeling how big a swing creates a certain ball,” says Peterson. “And when he’s on, he's within a yard or so.”
Phil Mickelson's Iron Distance Drill
- Set out towels on the range at 10 yards intervals, working back from the green
- Focus on what needs the most work—use a range from 40 to 140 yards, but narrow it down depending on the specific session
- Try and drop the ball directly on the towel; the goal should be for the ball to make contact with the cloth
Source: Callaway Golf