Author: Emmanuel Marchand

Practice makes perfect

09 March 2023
5 min. read
Emmanuel Marchand
As a Spaniard, I can't think of a good translation of the famous saying "Practice Makes Perfect", but I'm sure that any golfer (in any language) would understand. It's a fact: practice does make perfect... or at least brings us closer to it!

As amateur players, we tend not to prioritise this part of the sport, and the normal thing to do is to dedicate the time we have for golf to get out on the course, where we have the most fun! But we don't always have enough time to play 18 holes, or even 9 holes, and that's when it's time to practice.

We are in luck because just "hitting balls" has become a thing of the past, thanks to the constant modernisation and diversification of the practice areas on golf courses. 

In fact, looking at the 2022 Golfers' Choice Rankings on Leading Courses, it is clear that one of the most important criteria when evaluating a golf course includes the quality of the practice facilities, not just the course itself.

Making training fun is the magic formula for improvement. There is a myriad of mini-games to make practising more enjoyable and when the facilities offer a wide variety of areas, you can end up spending a lot of time practising!

The Driving Range

From the 2 floors of the Centro Nacional de Golf you can aim at various targets (photo: Centro Nacional de Golf)

This is undoubtedly the traditional reference area when it comes to golf training. It is also, for the last few years, the facility that is evolving the most thanks to technology and the creativity of golf course managers.

In Madrid we are fortunate to have great references such as the Centro Nacional and Negralejo. Both are recognised as pioneers in Europe, having been the first to provide their facilities with major improvements through the introduction of technology (Top Tracer in this case). 

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Centro Nacional de Golf (RFEG)
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In the case of the CNG, the area is open even at night, with music and food, approaching the Top Golf experience offered in the United States and England. 

In addition to the interactive screens that give you real-time info, they have installed several targets on the ground, in the form of greens, bunkers and water. 

They have also put a gong in the middle for the more precise ones!

The driving range of Golf Negralejo and its targets (photo: Golf Negralejo)

At Negralejo, there is no excuse for not spending time on the driving range as the Toptracer technology is included in the range balls, which allows you to try all the game modes, both for beginners and advanced players.

For more incentive to train, they organise tournaments every month with spectacular prizes, and where anyone can win as it is a matter of getting the closest ball to a very reachable par 3. There is room for everyone, both in width (57 places on 2 floors) and length (250 metres). Definitely pay a visit if you're in the area!

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Golf Negralejo
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3 golf courses9 holes

The Putting Green

The putting green at Nuevo Sancti Petri in Cadiz allows all putts to be practised. (Photo: Emmanuel Marchand)

A classic in the training area! The putter is the club we use the most in a round of golf, and it is on the green where we lose or win the most strokes.

However, it is rarely the part of the game that we practice most regularly. While it is true that every course will have its own practice green, they are not all equally attractive and varied.

A good putting area needs everything: big enough to practice long putts, slopes in all directions to suit all tastes, and very flat areas for technical work.

On some courses there are several greens and this offers more options for practice, especially considering that there can be many people on the green at the same time.

I would like to take this opportunity to comment that it is always advisable to move away from a hole to practice (some people have a tendency to stay right next to the hole they have just holed to go to another hole, but this prevents the use of the hole by another player!)

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2 golf courses36 holes

Chip and Approach area

Chip, approach and bunker area at La Dehesa. (Photo: Emmanuel Marchand)

This part of the game offers new challenges on every hole you play, and yes it is true for all shots in golf, but it is certainly even more so for approach and chip shots. 

There are so many permutations of shots that everything is useful to train: a lot or little green to work with, with or without a hazard, with the green being uphill or downhill... and so on!

With this in mind, all the facilities that we see have to be useful to practice at ease, but it is true that the more facets of this part of the game they can offer, the better.

Don't forget to practise your bunker game (also on the fairway bunker practice courses) to get rid of the fear of the sand!

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Club de Golf La Dehesa
Spain, Community of Madridfrom €50
1 golf course18 holes

Let's practice!

The work courses put in to offer better and nicer facilities is undeniable, and we should all embrace that. Practising your game is will make every golfer better, whether they are very casual or go to the course every day.

It should encourage us all to dedicate a little more time to training so we can shave a few strokes off our score at the end of the round!

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