Tom Fielding Golf School Japan
The “Breaking 90” Practice Plan with the Simulator
This practice plan is built entirely around learning, refining, and testing the three shots that you need to break 90. When you can complete each Test, you’re ready to take your game to the course to bag that 89.
Phase 1: The Iron Shot
The first thing you need to do is find out exactly how far you hit your chosen iron (let’s call it a 7I), and each club below it (8I, 9I…).
Next, you need to work on your accuracy and consistency. For accuracy, make sure you’re hitting shots to a target and keeping track of where your misses go. For consistency, the goal is to hit every shot the full distance, whether that’s 150, 155, or 160 yards. Plus or minus a few yards is fine, but you can’t break 90 if you’re laying the sod over the ball.
Finally, spend some of your practice time on your shorter irons. These may come into play as well, depending on the course.
Test: Hit 9/10 iron shots into a 60 foot (left to right) window at least 150 yards away.
Phase 2: The Pitch
This is probably the most difficult part of this plan for most golfers. You will need to develop a reliable pitch shot that will allow you to hit a green from 20 to 100 yards away. The method you use does not matter: you can use Dave Pelz’s “Clock” method, a Stan Utley pitch, or whatever home brewed method you concoct. The key is reliability.
You do NOT need to go flag hunting. This plan is based on hitting the green, not knocking down pins. Practice hitting shots to the biggest, safest part of the green, just like you will on the course.
Part of why this is so difficult is that good short game practice facilities are hard to come by in the Tokyo region without having to drive at least one hour and half. If you don’t have one, improvise. Take some buckets or towels and place them on the range at varying distances. Just be sure to clean up after yourself.
When you practice, don’t hit the same length shot over and over; this is not how you will play on the course. Hit a 50 yarder, then a 20 yarder, than a 90 yarder. Keep track of the distances that are best and worst for you. This will be important for your course management.
Test: Hit the green 10/10 times from varying distances. Don’t hit the same length shot twice in a row or more than twice overall.
Phase 3: The Putt
The next time you are at a golf course spend some time on the putting green. The primary thing that you need to do is lag putt well and clean up your short putts, so build your practice around that. Here are some sample drills:
Set up 4 balls around the hole at roughly 3 feet and make all of them. Repeat until you’ve made 20 in a row.
Put 3 balls at 3’, 5’, and 7’, all on the same line, for a total of 9 balls. Make all the 3’ putts in a row, then move back to the 5’ putts then the 7’ putts. The goal is to make 9 in a row. If you miss, start over.
Drop 3 balls at 30’ (or 40’, 50’, etc). Putt each of them towards a cup or a tee. If the balls end up within 3’, you win. See how many wins you can get in a row.
Test: Take one ball and drop it anywhere from 10 to 60 feet from the cup. Putt it until you hole it out. Do this 18 times, from 18 different spots. If you can complete this in 36 or fewer strokes, you pass.