College Practice Plan: The Spreadsheet

Here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet I’ve been using for the College Practice Plan, as outlined by YouTuber Scratch Golf. My version is one I created in Apple Numbers, and put on the icloud, so I could share it between my laptop and iPhone. Scratch Golf has a version on Google Docs that you can download: http://bit.ly/2Eqw3GF.  It’s nice to be able to update my progress via cellphone right there at the driving range, and then review it later that night at home on the larger screen.

For the week of April 29 – May 5, I only tried four drills. I fell short of the putting drills’ stated goals, so I marked those cells in orange to indicate I tried it, and I put in a number to show how many successful attempts I had made. For the drills I fully and successfully completed, I marked “Yes” and colored the cell green.

On the Irons drills, for the 9-iron for example, the drill states to hit 30 balls using “6 trajectories”. Those trajectories are: straight shot, high fade, low fade, high draw, low draw, and low straight shot, or “stinger”.  I only attempted to hit straight shots because I am a high handicapper. One of my goals this summer – and this is something this practice plan can help me with – is to develop a high fade with my mid-irons, and to generally understand the mechanics of draw and fade better.

I will be blogging about each of these drills in the coming weeks as I get a chance to try them, but for now, I just wanted to share this spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet for use with the College Practice Plan

College Practice Plan: 20-Foot Putt Drill

The YouTube channel “Scratch Golf” has a video on practicing golf and tracking your weekly progress using a plan utilized by college golf programs in the US. Who knows if any colleges actually use this plan, now or ever, but it’s been pretty rewarding enough for me, regardless of its origins. Having completed the initial drill, “3-Foot Putts”, I moved on to the “20 Foot Putt Drill”. From the previous drill, I had 6 tees in a circle around hole, each 3 feet from the hole. I removed one of the tees, paced off 20 feet, and put that tee back in the ground. I now had a setup for putting 20-foot putts into a 3-foot radius around the hole.

Remove one of the six tees from the 3-foot circle from the previous drill to create an opening into the circle.
Place one tee 20 feet out from the 3-foot circle

The routine went like this:

* Take 3 golf balls, and try putting as many as you can into the 3-foot radius circle around the hole.

* Don’t use more than 3 to 5 balls, because it can get crowded within the circle

* If any single putt doesn’t end up within the circle, start all over again.

* Keep trying until you get 20 in a row 

Record your results on a spreadsheet. I tried for nearly an hour and only managed to get 8. I marked an 8 besides this drill on my spreadsheet, and colored it orange. If I had gotten all 20, I would have marked it green. The beauty of having to start over is that each putt has an increasing sense of urgency the closer you get to 20.  Eight is a pretty mediocre number, but I now have a baseline number to start improving upon as I practice this drill each week.

I am really loving having some structure to my practice using this plan, and recording the results will show me where I’m improving from week to week. I’m also spending more time on my putting because I want to hit those numbers and mark my spreadsheet green. If I were just casually putting around, I would have practiced far less.

College Practice Plan: 3-Foot Putt Drill

I recently ran across a channel on YouTube called “Scratch Golf“. There I found a video on practicing golf using a college golf team practice schedule. As was mentioned in the video, for those of you perhaps outside the US, college golf in the US is basically amateur golf played at a very high level, and most golfers on the PGA tour came through the college system (one notable exception is Ted Potter, Jr, one of my favorite golfers). The plan presented by Scratch Golf included a spreadsheet with a list of weekly drills covering putting, chipping, pitching, iron play, and driving. It was such a compelling video and well laid-out plan, I decided to give it a shot. What I want to describe in this post is my experience with the first drill, the 3-Foot Putt Drill.

The drill goes like this:

  • Put six tees in the ground in a circle around the hole, 3 feet away from the hole. Use your putter as a guide – putters are typically between 34 and 36 inches, so they are perfect for this.
  • Place a golf ball by each of the tees, slightly off to the side so that you won’t hit the tee.
  • The objective is to hit 25 3-foot puts IN A ROW. If you missing a putt – you have to start over.
Using a putter to measure out 3 feet to place tees
The completed tee ring.

The pressure can really mount up once you get over 18, and get into your 23, 24th, and 25th putts. The pressure you feel is a great simulation for situations you may find out on the golf course, where perhaps you need a short putt to get a birdie, win a match, tie your personal best, NOT score a triple bogey on the hole – whatever myriad of pressure situations we find ourselves in out on the course.

I spent nearly an hour and a half on this drill, and only succeeded in getting 17 in a row at best. But thanks to the structure and gamification this drill offers, I spent nearly 90 minutes working on 3-foot putts – something I would have never done if I were out there just casually putting around.