Maybe your practice is only on the range and not on the golf course. You may be constantly working on all the positions in the golf swing. Maybe you’re watching several teachers on YouTube everyday and “trying to incorporate all the ideas of multiple teachers. If you focus on all that goes into making a perfect swing, it can become overwhelming. I’ve seen players so focused on making a perfect golf swing that they never really learn how to “play golf”. Here’s some ideas to help you learn to play golf and not stay so focused on the intricate details of an athletic move that lasts less￼ than 2 seconds. Learn how to play golf, not play “golf swing”
1. When you practice on the course you’re not focused on putting a number on the scorecard. Hit two balls from each tee and play the worst ball. This promotes scrambling and working on trouble shots. This creates what I call an OTE—Opportunity To Excel. Golf is a lot like life—sometimes life throws you a curveball—it’s just not fair. You hit a good drive and it hits a sprinkler head and goes straight into the woods. You can become a victim—get angry—or seize the Opportunity To Excel. Make a great decision to chip out instead of compounding one bad situation with another. Make the smart play—chip out—wedge it on the green and make a great par. Embrace adversity and turn the situation into something great. A par would be great, but a bogey won’t kill your score, doubles and triples can ruin your round. I don’t recommend doing this on a busy day on the course. Maybe late or early when the course isn’t crowded.
2. Play a course in your mind on the range. Pretend the first hole is a 350 yard par 4. Hit your drive and estimate how far it traveled. Let’s say it went 250 yards. What club do you hit 100 yards ?You can actually “Score “ yourself. This gives you the ability to adapt as you would on the golf course. You’re not just raking one ball after another, you’re“ playing golf”.
3. Practice your pre-shot routine on the range or course on every shot.
* Remember to always pick a target (primary and secondary) and visualize your shot.
* Allow proper alignment to always be a part of your routine.
* Once you’re in the “play zone”, stay with a specific amount of time, with only one swing thought. I like my players to be in the play zone 10-15 seconds, no more. Any longer than that, you’re thinking way too much. We actually put a stopwatch on the player to make sure their time in the play zone is always close to being the same.
* Your pre-shot routine may include a “waggle” or practice swing or some type of trigger to start your swing.
* Whatever you decide for your pre-shot routine—it’s always the same…. own it on every single shot.
4. Work on uneven lies on the course . This is one of the least practiced areas in golf. Remember, most shots in golf are not on a tee or flat ground like the range .
5. Play different tees. If you normally play the back tees, maybe all the way up to the forward tees or vice-versa. This makes you focus on club selection and scoring shots. I always have my students play the forward tees to get use to scoring or “going low”.
6. Hit fairway bunker shots. Most players focus on and practice from green side bunkers, but neglect the longer shots.
7. Work on “specialty shots”. On each hole, you know where the toughest “up and down” areas exist. Drop three or four balls and learn to play the short game pitches, chips, sand shots, and flop shots that you must execute to make par.
8. Work with your swing coach to arrange playing lessons. This will help you learn not only the golf swing, but how to play smart golf. Course management and the mental side of golf are critical to be your very best.