One day back in the middle of winter there I was, waiting in the car at my son's school sports ground, looking at the rugby pitches in front of me - they looked fantastic, freshly cut grass and beautifully marked while lines...
...and then it came to me - wouldn't it be great if every practice ground at every golf club had a rugby pitch marked out - all those lines and posts would make the perfect targets and distance markers.
At the end of the day (and the start for that matter !!) playing good golf is about keeping control of the ball - whether it's driving the ball 300 yards, or holing a putt from 2 feet.
To have full control of the ball, you need to be able to hit it the right distance on the right line - stating the blindingly obvious I know, but it's one of those things that's far easier said than done - a bit like controlling the ball, passing and moving in football.
The tests below can be used to judge your ability to hit accurate shots that go the right distance - you can carry them out from any distance and you can also define what you consider to be an acceptable margin for error - you can use these tests to challenge yourself at every shot from a 2 foot putt to a 300 yard drive.
For example, you might decide that you want to measure your ability to hit the ball accurately enough to be within 9 feet of the flag from 100 yards - a pretty good shot for the vast majority of golfers.
Well to do that, all you'd need to do is hit shots from under the cross-bar at one end of the pitch, and convert them - that is, get them to go between the posts at the other end.
Now imagine that you have the power to make the posts move farther apart or closer together - that is, control the margin for error. You should do this to allow you to set the test up in a way that is challenging but achievable - for example if you're only able to get 2 out of 10 between the posts, then maybe you should move them slightly farther apart - whereas, if you regularly get 8 or more between the posts, maybe it's time to narrow them up.
This scorecard will allow you to define your own test, and record your results over time - you can use it for 3 foot putts with a zero margin of error, to 300 drives with a 50 yard margin.
Then just do the test, and monitor your performance over time - if you can't get better just by doing it, then go and get some help - and you'll have hard FACTS to share with your coach about your game.
The distance control test follows exactly the same principles as the accuracy test - it's just that you're playing along the try line, rather than from directly in front of the posts.
Again, all you need to record is:-
And here's the scorecard for you to keep track of your progress over time.