Yes, the best players in the world spend a lot of time practicing. And that's what we feel separates them from us: the amount of time they spend on their games.
But what we usually don't account for is the quality of their high quantity of practice. They spend far more time than we do (because it's their job so they both get to and have to), and their time is better spent.
Comparing yourself to the schedule of a pro golfer or even a high-level amateur can be discouraging, especially for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to spend practicing. But as I always say, you need to focus on the controllables and let go of the uncontrollables.
What can you not control? You can't necessarily control how much time you have. But what can you control? How you spend the time that you do have.
So then since you've come to peace with the amount of time that you currently have, then you can get to work planning it to be as high quality as possible.
What does high quality practice look like? High quality practice accomplishes 3 things:
High quality practice makes you better
High quality practice is holistic
High quality practice translates to the golf course
How do you make your practice do these things? You need to design your time properly. You should start with the most important parts of the game to improve. My mentor and instructor Robert Linville has been working with professionals, high-level amateurs, and pretty much all other skill levels for over 30 years. And over the recent years he has accumulated thousands of rounds of stats from his players. And according to what he found the breakdown of practice should look like this:
Short Game 21%
This isn't just raw percentages of how often you hit certain types of shots during a round of golf. It's based on the types of shots that can help you gain the most strokes. And this is of course a general rule based on what most players' priorities should be. But as far as breaking up practice by importance, this is a great starting point. Especially considering how most players probably look a lot different from that.
So you take those percentages, and you take your total amount of practice time in a typical week, and you dedicate those percentages of time to those categories.
This is a great starting point for higher quality, more intentional practice. There are further ways to break this practice time up to really ramp up the quality, but we'll discuss that another time. For now, start here.
Quality practice needs to be the baseline. The given. Your practice needs to be high quality otherwise you're just whacking at the tree with the handle of the axe. So make the adjustment and spend your time better.