When you play golf, you can measure how well you hit the
ball based on statistics like Greens in Regulation or
Fairways Hit. At the Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy, we
believe that you can measure how well you are hitting the
ball during your practice sessions as well.
Most amateurs, when asked what type of ball flight they
are trying to create, will say "straight." With that in
mind, golfers – while aiming at the target – are also trying
to keep the ball from moving away from it. This is a very
difficult task. Professional players do the opposite and
it’s a much more effective way to play. This method is to
start the ball to either the right or left of the target and
curve it back. The goal is to have the ball curve towards
the target without crossing over the target line. This is
optimal control. For example, the perfect draw shot starts
to the right curving left towards the target. The ball lands
just to the right and spins left into the hole resulting in
a perfect shot.
Not all of your shots will be perfect. But, how do you
determine whether or not you have hit a good shot? Well, you
have to determine an acceptable distance to the right of the
hole (for a draw) your ball can land away from the target.
We call this distance a "zone". The left side of the zone is
the target line and the right side of the zone is dependent
on the club used. For a wedge, the zone will be smaller
than it willl be for a longer club.
At our Academy, we have the zones defined on our range.
When you’re practicing at other facilities, here's how you
practice hitting into your zones. Pick your target then
select another object in the background (a tree, corner of a
building, etc.) that is about seven to 10 yards to the side
of the target. If you hit a draw, the object should be to
the right of your target. If you hit a fade, it should be to
the left. This is your zone. Hit 10 balls with one club. How
many finished in your zone? Do this with multiple clubs and
keep track of how many zone hits you made. Now, use this
method to set your record and push yourself to try to beat
it every time you practice.
Now, you can accurately evaluate your improvement on the
practice tee. As you see measured improvement during
practice, this will build confidence that you can take to
the golf course.
At the Mike Bender Golf Academy there are posts in the
ground 150 yards from the teeing ground color coded with a
red pole signifying the target and additional poles at
specific increments to the left and right of the target that
can be used to mark a shot’s starting line versus where it
finished relative to the direction of the original target.