Taking Your Game to the Course

Have you been on the course, playing a few holes, when everything seems to go wrong? The ball flies directions you never knew it would go...into the trees, oh no, into another bunker or water. You become certain you have no chance of a good score, wondering why you play this silly game anyway.

Then your playing partners see that you are struggling. They offer swing tips to try to help you make better shots. You become desperate to have more fun and you try any advice someone will give. This approach can only make the matter worse.

It would be a better idea to have a game plan to manage your game on the golf course. How you react to errant shots will determine the outcome. How many times have you seen someone make par out of the woods? They stay composed and stick with a plan. It really can be done. No matter how bad the shots seem to be, it is important to rely on your own personal routine. We record a number on the scorecard--not details of how it was achieved!

First, you need to develop your own routine, stay with it and trust in it, so you can empty your mind of swing technique clutter on the course. To see real improvement in your performance and scoring on the course, the plan must begin on the practice range. Whether you are a new golfer or an experienced 20-handicap or less, every shot you make on the practice area must have a target. Just like getting to any destination, you want to have the roads mapped out how to get there. 

Begin with a clubface position square to your target line and your body positioned parallel left of the target line. Get comfortable with lining up correctly during practice; this will eliminate any doubt in making a shot on the course. Consider your time on the practice to be like a dress rehearsal for going on the golf course This will also give you reference points while working on the mechanics of your swing. Work on a pre-shot routine that you make for every ball you approach to hit from putter to driver. Every ball must have a target associated with it. This routine will allow your body to go into automatic pilot and make the swing you have rehearsed in practice. Your more effective practice time will let you trust what you have accomplished on the range. Your muscles will be more relaxed--think of it as being on cruise control. It will help reduce the mechanical swing thoughts that will confuse the your body’s performance on the course. 

Working on one or two swing key thoughts on the range has to happen until you learn the motor skill. Once you feel you have learned it, test it out on the range. Imagine a fairway boundary like one of the golf holes, tee it up and go through your pre-shot routine as if you are playing on course. Then play the next shot of the hole the same way. Or have a practice partner play a contest with you. Select a target, hit to it, the person closest gets a point and selects a new target. Whoever reaches 5 points first wins.

Practice as if you are playing on the course. A pre-shot routine includes a good grip and alignment with correct posture at address focusing on a detailed target. It is an all-inclusive process that makes better swings show up more often with less effort. 

Have fun with this and remember it is a game.