Golf Today - Over 80000 pages of golf information
Golf News

Practice like you play
by Dan Frost, PGA Professional, Frost Golf Academy, Pachesham, Surrey
February 17, 2012

Why is it that we often play much better golf on the driving range than on the golf course? The answer is simple: few of us practice what is required from the golf course. We practice without challenge or consequence and often not even a target. When the machine gun fire effect of ball after ball after ball is in place, it is hard to build feeling that relates to the golf course. I see lots of eager golfers stood on the range ripping driver out of sight, only to head to the first tee and capitulate.

There are also the golfers who have so many conscious 'swing thoughts' that they simply cannot visualise or flow in any way - the sort of golf by numbers effect. Below are a few simple ways of making your driving range sessions more productive by practising shots like the real thing!

Playing a hole as if you were on the course is a great way to transfer your skills from driving range to course mode. It is also a good way of creating positive emotion from a hole you have previously played poorly. I take a second to close my eyes and picture the hole in detail, making it as vivid and clear as possible - I even draw a sketch of the hole into my journal to help me picture it. Next making sure you run through your pre-shot routine play the hole with consequence - you only have one chance to score well here. Always record the results.

Take 10 balls, pick a target and try to hit them as close to it as possible. Start each shot with a complete process, running through your pre-shot routine with great visualisation as if each shot were completely brand new. Keep a record of where the balls go so that next time you take on the challenge you can try to beat your best effort. This will also give you key information when you arrive at your next lesson - if there is a particular pattern to your ball flight for instance.

We are all guilty of practising the shots we find most enjoyable and of course the easiest. John Jacobs, one of the finest golf coaches of his era, described these types of practisers as 'pickers' because they only ever practised from a lie they picked. It is vital that you practice every scenario that you may encounter on the golf course, so trying mixing it up. Hit shots out of sandy divots, the rough, high lob shots over bunkers to tight pin positions and those always avoided long irons. Practice in such a way that you give yourself one chance to play the shot and then move onto another challenge. This will put you into the frame of mind of real life on-course performance.

Next time you are on the golf course I want you to play two golf balls from the equivalent distances of two tough par threes, even if that means starting your hole from the fairway rather than the tee. The first Par 3 must be equivalent to the average distance you hit your driver (around 250-300 yards) and the second must be started from the average distance you hit a long iron (around 190-220 yards), or adjust these markers accordingly to your own distances. The purpose of this challenge is to play a game that is a much tougher test than golf. Think about having the accuracy to hit your driver onto a green and consistency with a long iron to the degree that you hit the green. With these two tough tee shots your short game will also get a great work-out as even the best players in the world will miss the green with these clubs. The great thing about this challenge is that next time you have to hit a really tight tee shot all you need to do is picture that green sitting in the middle of the fairway with the thought in the back of your mind that you can hit greens with this club, how hard can fairways be? Likewise if you have to hit a tough positional long iron think of hitting that small green and if you miss the green by a few yards adopt the mind-set that you must get up and down, just like your par 3 challenge. Trust me emotionally this game really ticks all the boxes.

Ryder Cup
The USA's flawed Ryder Cup system...

Vote to allow women members after 260 years....

PGA Tour
Whatever happened to Anthony Kim?...

Mazda 3 - Engineered to perfection...

Sam Snead auction of famous personal items...

The 19th
Johnnie Walker and the Ryder Cup...

Paul McGinley
Proof its never too late....

John Huggan
Rules suck: that’s common knowledge...

Peter McEvoy
Centurion Club marches against the tide...

Book Review
The Spiritual Golfer - By Robert "Lumpy" Lumpkin

© 1996-2018 - Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy - About Us - Advertise - Classifieds - Newsletter - Contact Us