Practice Like a Pro
No doubt you’ve heard the saying “Practice makes Perfect”, but are you aware that what you practice and how can have a detrimental effect on your game if not done correctly?
Every time you Practice it should be done with Purpose.
All too often I hear players at my golf club say “Why is it when I hit balls at the range they go perfectly, but when I come out on the course to play in competition it’s a different matter?”
Hitting a basket of balls at the range is actually wasting your time, unless you’re grooving a swing technique following a lesson. If you want to improve your performance on the course you need to practice with Purpose.
So what does practicing with purpose really mean? Well hitting ball after ball into the range or open field has no consequence. Your not aiming at a target, so there’s no focus and if you don’t have a target to aim for, there’s no consequence if you miss it.
Out on the course in competition your keen to perform at your best. As part of your pre-shot routine you will be choosing where you want your ball to go i.e. your target. Should you miss your target, the pressure is on to recover, to get your ball back in play, or to play the hole without losing a shot or two.
Hopefully you can relate to the difference. Your practice routine has no purpose – no target to aim for and no consequence if you miss-hit your shot – no stress is induced or anxiety felt.
So your practice ideally should recreate the same environment conditions wherever possible. Of course, you can’t always recreate the wind, wet or elevations, but you can create the stresses and frustrations you may experience on the course.
Creating these emotions will prepare you mentally and help you develop the right mental toughness strategies to minimize the effect on your performance leaving you with a winning mindset.
So next time you’re at the range, try this exercise towards the end of your warm up routine:
Imagine playing the first 3 holes on the course. Place your ball on the matt/tee and run through your pre-shot routine, select your club and the target where your balls needs to land. Once you’ve completed your first shot, imagine how far you are from the green and where you’ve landed (fairway/rough/bunker). Decide which club you need to select for your next shot, running through your pre-shot routine again. Take your shot and continue as before until you’ve hit the imaginary green.
Should your ball not land at your target, be aware of the emotions experienced and what you need to do to get your ball back into play. For example you may have landed in the rough or behind a tree. What shot would you need to play and again go through your pre-shot routine.