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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

Practice for the Unexpected

I'm always looking for ways to engage with my readers, to give helpful tips to improve playing the game they love. This week I thought I would share with you the difference between learning the game and playing the game.

Initially when we start playing a sport, all our attention is focused on building good techniques, to create solid foundations for our game. As we progress through our chosen sport, we will turn our attention to improving our skills, to give us more control. In golf, typically this can be learning how to control ball flight and distance. Once we have mastered this aspect we will start to look at how to develop our game so that we can incorporate our imagination and creativity. With golf this could be learning how to shape shots to avoid hazards ahead or position a ball where we want it to land.

No matter what level you play the game, be it a newcomer, a seasoned player, or an elite performer, we will all encompass situations, where we feel outside our comfort zone. It may be playing off a difficult lie, having to play a recovery shot, playing into a strong head wind or learning how to play a links course. Whatever it might be, you will find yourself facing a situation that you don't have the experience to deal with.

Top Tip - make a note of situations where you find yourself uncomfortable. You can always scribble on the back of a scorecard and transfer to a notebook after. Once you've made a note, you can take the information and use it as part of your practice plan. You may chose to seek a lesson with your pro, or simply try out some ideas next time your practicing.

Here are a few typical problems encountered by golfers when faced with the "unexpected"

How do you play a downhill/uphill lie?What do you do when you’re playing in a crosswind?How do you hit a ball out of a divot?What's the best club to take out of the rough when wet?How do you play a plugged ball in a bunker?How do you hit a low ball out of the trees?

Developing your knowledge will give you the skills to play the game, so that next time your out playing and find yourself in a similar situation, you will be able to play the shot with confidence. Think of yourself as part player, part caddy when out playing, capture the unexpected, so that you can develop your game with meaningful practice to unlock your true potential.

If you would like to learn more about the mental side of the game please get in touch or check out our other blogs, there's something in here for everyone.


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