Golf is about the only sport where we don’t practice on the field on which we will play the actual game. Golfers do not practice on the golf course. Rather we practice on a perfectly flat tee, roll our balls onto perfect lies and hit ball after ball with the same club to the same target with no consequences for our results. As a consequence we get good at practicing, but what we really want is to get good at playing. So the question is this – Is your current golf training really helping you to play better on the course?
If you want to play better on the course and shoot lower scores, then you need to practice under conditions like those you will face on the course. Here are a couple of ways you can do just that.
Play the Course (on the range)
Choose a course that you know very well as the one you will play on the range. For the first “hole” choose something on the range that will identify the left side of the fairway and another object that will signify the right side of the fairway. Choose the club you would normally hit from that tee, complete your normal pre-shot routine and hit the shot. If the ball lands in the “fairway” you score a point.
Based on where you hit the tee shot choose a target at the appropriate distance which will serve as the green. Again define left and right edges of the green, choose the appropriate club, complete your pre-shot routine and play the shot. If the ball lands on the green you score another point.
Over 18 holes there are 36 points available. Play the entire round and see how many points you can score. The next time you visit the range try to beat your previous best score.
Up and Downs
Head over to your short game practice area with your putter, one ball and your 3 shortest irons. You are going to select different holes to play onto the green a putt out. You can not play from the same location twice. You must change clubs each shot. You should play 6 shots from a fairway lie, 6 from the rough and 6 bunker shots. Keep your score for the 18 holes and the next time you go to practice try to beat your previous best score.
Create the feeling of competition you get on the course by taking on a friend in either of the games outlined above. You don’t need to play for a lot of money, but play for something so that the result matters. You will be surprised how easy it can be to create the same nervousness you experience on the course during such practice. Now you not only are practicing the shots you will face on the course, but you are also developing the mental skills to perform under pressure.
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I hope you enjoyed this post. As always comments are welcome and appreciated