Successful Transition of Practice To The Golf Course
Transferring your golf swing and practice to the golf course has long been the downfall for many players. More times often than not, what takes places is a sense of urgency. In the game of golf, we all know the importance of what shooting a good score feels like. Constant and consistent practice is what allows us to play our best golf.
To the high handicapper it comes with the feeling of breaking either 100 or 90. To the mid handicapper it is the feeling of breaking 85 or even 80. To the low handicapper it is shooting or breaking par. In all situations it is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. It brings us great satisfaction the hard work in our practice of the swing is finally paying off. Now there is small caveat here and that is.
Practice Play Your Golf Game too.
We all practice our golf swings at the range so that we can play well, what most people don’t do is practice their swing on the golf course. READ THAT AGAIN! It is vitally important that you do this and you do this weekly. You practice your swing, but how do you really practice your game? What Golf Practice Plan have you devised so that you can play well?
Good players take a new successful swing thought with them and use it in a playing situation. They do everything possible to replicate it, on the golf course, in a round of golf that doesn’t mean anything. In other words they are just going out to play a round of golf. They are not focused so much on the score of the game, they are focused on the outcome of their Golf Practice Routine, the swing they execute at the range, and the outcome of the types of shots it CAN produce.
I know that this all sounds obvious, but what if it so happens that you have not been doing that. What if you have been busy at the practice of the shots but not the practice of the swing or more so your golf game. Golf is not just about hitting in long and straight, but it does help to have those traits. It is after all a game and you should have a strategy from which to play.
More times than not, as a professional I see players who practice hitting specific types of shots and not focusing on the practice of the swing itself. They get way to busy focusing on positioning or mechanics and forget all about the swing and game they are wanting to master for themselves.
When was the last time you just hit balls, being only focused on how the swing felt, forgetting or ignoring the outcome of what the ball was doing?
It is important to recognize this, I to have been guilty of this at times, we all have. What is most important for your personal Golf Equation, is that you practice all of these areas. You have to see the mechanics of the shot as one area, then you have to incorporate those mechanics into your swing as 2nd area, and then you have to practice the shots as a 3rd area, finally you have to practice taking that onto the golf course.
This is exactly where the dichotomy for golfers lies. To boil it down to a simpler perspective, I will give you a hypothetical practice scenario.
- The Golf Practice Range
- Swing Mechanics (What does it take to hit the ball straight?)
- Swing Feel (What does my ultimate swing feel like?)
- Specific or Specialty Shots (straight, draw, fade)
- The Golf Course
- Specific Shots (only use the one needed to get on the green)(Arnold Palmer “Hit the center of the green, putt to the corner”) (Have you ever tried this? Why not?)(It is after all much easier to aim for the center is it not?)
- Swing Mechanics Needed (What are your swing mechanics for that day?)(Keep your game of golf simple)
- Swing Feel (What does the swing feel like, that enables you to hit the Straightest, most RELIABLE, SAFEST shot?)
Most players focus on the practice of the type of golf shot they want to hit, NOT the type of shot needed! This is critical to your total Golf Equation and your golf course management. It is not critical that you hit it next to the pin every single time. IT IS more critical that you recognize giving yourself a fair chance at par on any given hole.
Another thing that golfers don’t see is, Golf Course Superintendents play golf also, they know to specifically place the Flags on any given day. They are fair minded individuals, and they will give you at least a 30% chance of making par for 6 holes of golf or more. The general rule of thumb is this.
- Flag Placements on the Green
- Front to Back of Green
- Front (6 holes)
- Center (6 holes)
- Back (6 holes)
- Left (6 holes)
- Center (6 holes)
- Right (6 holes)
- Left Side to right Side of Green
When you look at the possible pin placements for any given green, and you combine the above Flag Placement scenarios, you inevitably end up with 30% of the pin placements will be in the center of the green be left to right or front to back.
If your Golf Course Superintendent is being generous he/she may give you more opportunities then that by softening the front to back ratio.
I remember playing at one golf course where every pin placement was right in the middle of the green, this made it real easy to score as I never had to think about it. What was even better about it was, it allowed me to just PRACTICE MY GOLF SWING for the course.
Another course I played, the superintendent did a similar thing, but instead of just in the center of the green, he eliminated the right to left portion but did have the front to back positioning.
Next time you play, take a look at the pin placements and count their positions. I am sure you will be surprised at the end result. Beware though, golf course superintendents can be diabolically sneaky too. It is not uncommon to see some place flags in the so called sucker pin placements, and all will normally have at least one or two they chuckle at when they leave the green. I can see the wry and sly crooked grin of them now.
You might want to read a previous post I have here called the Self Worth of Practice . It will give you some great insights. Another article to read is this one I pulled from the PGA of America . It deals specifically with the practice of process orientation versus outcome orientation and it is a really great article.
In my next segment, I will talk about comparison statistics for your golf game. You will be in for a big surprise at what practice technique most converts to lower golf scores.
Well that’s all I have for now. Remember this and everything I write and teach is for you, it is meant to assist you in finding and reaching your ultimate Golf Equation. Until next time… Hit em long, straight, and as few times as possible on the golf course. Happy Golfing and Have a Great day.
PGA Teaching Professional / Founder
Golf Equation Swing Academy