Competitive Practice Drills for All Shots

Learn a variety of goal-oriented golf drills perfect for individual or team practice

  • Get 13 competitive drills and variations for working on putting, chipping, wedges and long-distance shots
  • Build player confidence on and around the green for lower scores during competition
  • Discover how using repetition and randomness during practice can help a golfer become more consistent
with Christie Martens,
Iowa State University Head Women’s Golf Coach;
2011 Big 12 Coach of the Year;
2011 NGCA Central Region Coach of the Year;
led the Cyclone program to its first-ever NCAA Championship berth in 2014; has coached 12 All-Big 12 players.To create championship-caliber golfers, coaches must know how to train essential skills from all distances – tee to green. Christie Martens, 2011 Big 12 Coach of the Year at Iowa State University, reveals 13 drills that she uses to help her golfers maximize their potential and lower their scores.

Whether it’s hitting one more fairway, holing out a bunker shot or draining a putt, Coach Martens has a drill to enhance your golfer’s abilities. With Coach Martens’ drills, you’ll be able to keep your golfers focused on improving their game during practice while also challenging them with goal-oriented exercises.

Putting Drills

Coach Martens begins with the Penny Drill, which uses a coin to work on green reading and putting consistency. Once your golfers have learned how to read greens, the Box Drill can help them lock in on green speeds and lag putting. When Coach Martens and her golfers arrive at a tournament, the Box Drill is one of the first drills they set up and complete, because getting the feel for the speed of the putting surface is essential for lower scores.

Four more putting drills are included, including the 3-6-9 Drill, Snail Drill, Makeables drill and Star Drill. These drills are designed to help your golfers make short putts, create in-match scenarios during practice, roll in birdie-distance putts and heighten concentration.

Short Game

While putting is important, many times golfers end up missing the green and must scramble to make par. The Win the Day drill is an exercise completed from the bunker in which Coach Martens requires golfers to hole out two bunker shots in order to end practice. Great for player confidence, this drill promotes keeping a low center of gravity and having the wrists pointed at the hips – two common elements of great bunker play.

Coach Martens is also a big fan of using golf rings while working on chipping. By placing a 3-foot radius ring around the hole and having a golfer put down an 18-inch circle where they want their ball to land, you can teach your athletes how to pick a spot on the green to aim for while hitting a bump-and-run or pitch shot.

Coach Martens also shares a wedge drill that improves touch and helps golfers calculate the distances they hit their wedges. She believes it’s a great idea to log wedge distances and keep them on hand during a competitive round.

Distance Shots

Three long-distance drills focus on improving the creativity, accuracy and consistency of your golfers from the rough and from the tee box. The Deep Rough Drill requires players to drop a ball into the rough, adjust their setup, grip down on the club and use a steeper swing to strike the ball solidly in thicker grass. Calculating the influence of the wind and selecting the right club is paramount in the 8-Ball Drill, which can also be used to practice fading and drawing the ball.

Challenging your golfers to meet drill goals in practice will prepare them for success in upcoming tournament rounds. You will see your players become more confident on the course which will lead to more putts dropping in the hole for lower scores on the card!