One of the things I love about golf is the anticipation. Looking forward to the next round, the next match, the next hole and the next swing.
Now of course there have been days when all I was really looking forward to was the 19th hole and some adult beverages. Days when maintaining a positive expectancy for the next shot was all but impossible. Those days are fewer now.
If golf is all about the next shot shouldn't we practice that way? My favorite practice/learning method for my students and for me is what I call the "Rule of five".
Take five balls set them several feet behind your teeing area. Make a decision about what swing action you want to improve on. Weight transfer, tempo, rhythm, alignment or whatever. As long as it is some action not a result.
On any driving range you can ask those gathered, "what are you working on?" Nearly every answer will be a results statement. The two most common are "I want to hit it farther." "I want to be more consistent." Ask them what they are doing to achieve such lofty outcomes and most likely you'll get a blank stare as a response.
The 'Rule of five' requires that you decide on a specific action that if done correctly should produce something close to the desired outcome. Let's say your chosen action is to strike the ball with a descending blow leaving a divot well past the ball. Step 1 is to take a practice swing smooth and slow attempting to hit the ground after the spot where the ball would have been. After the swing ask yourself, "what do I need to do better on the NEXT swing?" Then attempt to do it. Do it five times! Then you place a ball down and attempt to execute the action you have been rehearsing. Do not judge the result by how far you hit the ball, or how straight, or by anything other than did you accomplish the action you wanted.
Step 2 is to repeat step1. And so on. Twenty five practice swings and five ball swings on purpose and with a purpose.
Then pick a new action.