PRO-SPECTIVE: Taking it to the course

From time to time our teaching staff hears a story from a golfer who is starting to sense improvement, and has had a few decent practice sessions that provide evidence to back up this notion.  Sadly, this promising story can be book-ended by a phrase like this: "If only I could take it onto the course."

If this sounds like something you may have said, here are a few thoughts on how you might remedy this less-than-ideal situation.  First, check your practice framework.  Too many people practice for golf by employing block practice almost exclusively.  Block practice is defined as repeating the same type of practice continually.  This is most often done in an effort to improve technique.  For example, one might be working on a full weight shift through the downswing by hitting 7-irons roughly down the middle of the range repeatedly.  The problem with repeating that type of practice almost exclusively is that it does not even remotely resemble what we do on the golf course.  

 

On the course, we are forced to consider specific targets, and we don't hit the same club from a level lie repeatedly.  Be sure to make a decent portion of your practice 'game-like' by using the power of your imagination to transport yourself to the virtual golf course while you are practicing at the range.  Change clubs every swing, choose a different target each time. Pretend you are playing actual holes on your favourite golf course.  

Second, check your expectations at the starter stand.  Any time we are sensing improvement to our swing, we are prone to building up expectations for ourselves.  An indifferent start to the round may lead to a negative frame of mind early on, having not met those growing expectations out of the gate.  Use the tour player refrain, "It's a process."  This will allow you to keep from having a knee-jerk reaction common amongst all of us, trying too hard on the next hole.

 

Third, do not neglect short game practice.  Big numbers on scorecards are usually the result of compounding errors.  It's amazing how effective a solid chip or pitch followed by a tap-in putt can be for your outlook, and for your score.  The short game practice area at the Ridge Course is a fantastic place to start shaving strokes from your bottom line.

Finally, be mindful of your self-talk.  If you say that you can't take it to the course, you are validating a belief that you must own on some level. Keep on saying it and you'll be living it.  

 

Brian Hann

Lead Teach Professional