Charlie Wi and Deliberate Practice

Charlie Wi’s Deliberate Practice!

Immediately after Charlie Wi crafted a masterpiece at Spyglass during the second round of the AT&T (66, 13 fairways and 17 greens) he headed to the range for post round practice. No phone, no texting, no interviews, and no autographs.

This is how he practiced.
His caddie, Mark, set 8 empty baskets out on the range at 10-yard intervals from 40 to 90 yards. Using his 56 degree sand wedge, Charlie randomly hit shots to the targets simulating on course play by using his full pre-shot routine for each repetition. Seldom did he repeat successive shots to the same target. I don’t know the exact count, but Charlie went through at least two baskets of wedge shots.

He continued simulated practice with various other clubs, never repeating the same shot, or to the same target. After another basket he was off to the practice green to hit a variety of chip shots, always using his full pre-shot routine while mixing targets and shot variety.

He finished with what he calls “alignment putting.” He selected a 4-foot putt with a one-cup break, put a tee in the green at the aiming spot, and lined up his putter to start the ball at the tee. On every putt, Mark checked Charlie’s putter blade aim. He confirmed the aim just before Charlie stroked the ball. They completed about 10 repetitions on both sides of the hole.

No matter what the score, and with weather and daylight permitting, this is their post round practice. In fact, the next day, Charlie crafted a 76 at Pebble Beach (made the cut on the number with a birdie at 7 and pars on 8 and 9), and was off to the range for the same practice.

It’s not unusual to observe Charlie practicing with what we call deliberate practice. That’s practice that’s structured, with full attention and intensity, target awareness, that simulates on course play, and includes an understanding of its long-term benefits.

What is the lesson learned? With modifications depending upon your skill set, you can plan and apply a similar post-round practice regimen for the steady improvement of your game.

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