Playing more away from the course:
1. At home
2. At the Range
3. At the office or in the Car
Playing more on the course:
4. Different ways to enjoy golf on the course
1. Getting ready at home
There are a number of things you can do to get yourself ready to play golf away from the course that don’t take much time;
- Leave for your game in plenty of time
- Eat foods that give you energy for long periods, like bananas, cereal or multigrain bread
- Pack lots of water, fruit and nuts for out on course
- Sit in the chair and remember the last time you played well, what did it feel like? Where did you look? Use these memories to help you feel your game again.
- Swing a golf club at home. This can be done in front of a mirror or while listening to music.
- Practice swinging and hitting and feeling the momentum of the club. Try swinging with your eyes closed to enhance the sensations.
- Swing to music
- Practice your short game swings, work on the different swings in the mirror.
- Practice putting on the carpet. Use a five cent coin as your target. The hole will look enormous when you get to the course
- Do some exercise and/or stretch. Anything that helps you wake up your body will really help you game, especially if these activities increase your awareness of how your body is moving or feeling
- Practice your set up and pre-shot routine. Imagine you are actually on the course playing a round of golf
2. At the Range
If you have time to get to the range, use your time as efficiently as possible;
- Work on your short game
- Create consequence in your practice. There is trouble on the course, so practice with trouble (real or imagined) at the range. For example, if you miss the ball to the right you would be in a bunker on the course. In practice you could be penalised with 10 sit ups
- Compete against a friend, and punish each other if you hit the ball into the wrong spot
- Create a scoring system for you practice- birdie for a target hit, bogey if you miss the target and double bogey for a shocker
- Change your club and target as much as possible at the range. On the course you never hit the same shot twice – so why do it in practice?
- Skills test yourself, you can do this with;
- Shot shaping – making the ball bend in the air deliberately
- How many targets in a row can you hit with different clubs?
- Distance control
- Make the different clubs go the same distance
- Play a round of golf at the range
- Practice aiming
- Practice visualisation skills
- Practice your pre-shot routine
3. In the office or in the car
There are a number of things you can do in the car or at the office to improve your game;
4. Different ways to enjoy golf on the course
The golf course is the best place to practice. It is the only practice location that allows you to actually perform the same variety of skills you would encounter on course or in tournament conditions. Very few practice facilities actually provide a realistic re-creation of what is encountered on the course. Therefore just going out onto the course and playing golf is perhaps the best practice that can be done. The disadvantage of this type of practice is its inefficient use of time and the extra expense of playing on the course.
The advantage of practicing on the course is the time between hitting each shot is maintained. When practice is completed at a driving range this “between” time is greatly reduced.
Mastering this time between each shot is one of the most important skills in golf. For an elite golfer, the time between the shots accounts for as much as 85% of the total time spent on playing the round. Failure in the remaining 15% of the time when the ball striking occurs is usually because of poor mental skills that occur in the “between” time. The most likely reason for this that the “between” time is never practiced so the relevant systems are never developed for the more time consuming portion of the game.
Indeed many great techniques have been ruined by an over active mind not being controlled during the “between” time of a round of golf.
In addition to playing on the course a number of on course games can be created to focus on various parts of the game.
Types of on course practice
There are several variations that can be done for this game;
- You’re the leader
- Par the next three to make the cut
- You have had a bad start
- You have had a really good start
Recreate what happens in a tournament and to practice the systems that have been developed.
Two Ball Worst Ball
Hit two balls, go to the worst shot and repeat. Continue playing the worst ball from the two shots until you get the ball into the hole.
This game teaches you how to grind out a score and make you think about strategy.
Two Ball Best Ball
This game is conducted the same way as the two ball worst ball game, except it is only conducted in the short game. This starts from full wedge shots.
Puts your short game under pressure and makes it much harder to have a good score.
Two Ball Best Ball Games
Both of these games involve hitting two balls and playing from the best ball.
The purpose of this type of practice is to become familiar with shooting very low scores.
By playing this game in the short game only it teaches the student how many shots they can reduce from their score by improving the short game.
No Greens in Regulation
In this game the golfer is not permitted to hit a green in regulation, if this happens the ball must be putted of the green adding shots to the score. For advanced golfers you can specify that the short game shots need to be played at certain numbers, for example on third each for bunkers, fairway and rough.
The purpose of this game is to practice getting the ball up and down to save par, this forces the golfer to scramble and get the ball into the hole.
The other benefits of this game is that it forces the golfer to thing about the easiest place to play the short game shot from. Also the targets that the long game shots are being hit towards are much smaller than the greens so it requires much better ball striking.
Driving and Short Game Skills Test
The golfer plays the tee shot, points are allocated to if the correct part of the fairway is hit. The ball is picked up and the played from a specific short game position. Points are allocated for where the ball finishes in relation to the hole.
This on course practice focus on two of the most important skill in golf – driving and the short game.
The practice is being done on the course which is a big advantage and it creates a measurable score to be tracked.
5 Clubs Only
The golfer can pick any four clubs and a putter. The objective is to have the same score as normal with all fourteen clubs.
This game teaches shot making and makes the golfer create different strategies.
The Bad Luck Game
The golfer places the ball in a bad position- if the ball is in the fairway it is placed in a divot, if the ball is in the trees it gets placed against a tree.
This game teaches the golfer to deal with bad breaks and become familiar with playing trouble shots.
Go For Everything
The golfer will attempt to go for everything. Every pin will be shot at, every tee shot will be with driver taking on the trouble and every short game shot and putt will attempt to be holed.
This teaches the golfer what shots they can and cannot hit. It also demonstrates what happens to the score when the mindset is too aggressive. This game is a good way to go out and have fun too.
Draws vs. Fade
Play two balls, one ball is always played with a fade, while the other is always played with a draw. Play match play draw vs. fade. If the ball is not shaped correctly add a penalty shot.
This game teaches the golfer about their strengths and weaknesses in ball shaping. It shows them how different shapes fit to different situations on the course.
The Points Game
This game awards points for hitting the ball on the fairway, keeping the ball in the fairway when laying up, hitting the green in regulation, for getting the ball up and down and for one putting. One point is deducted for three putting.
The focus of this game is taking the focus off the actual score.
The points system makes the golfer focus on the process of hitting the ball to the correct places on the course. When this is done the score will be low.