Taking your game to the course

Do you hit better shots at the range than when you go out and play? Have you spent time grooving a swing at the range only to find that swing elusive on the golf course? Consider the following advice to help you take your game from the range to the course and play better golf.

A key element to playing better is practicing better. Make sure you practice both your fundamentals and your pre-shot routine. Stick to the basics of proper alignment, an efficient grip and good posture. Always use a target when you practice. Once these elements are in place rehearse your pre shot routine down to the smallest details. Make a note of each waggle and each glance at your target. Practice them enough that you consistently perform these actions without thinking. Rehearse how you line up to a target and how you step into position to hit the ball. Repeat everything all the way to the moment you start your backswing.

Once these actions become ingrained, you are in a better position to flow from your routine into your swing without much conscious thought to interfere. When you get on the golf course focus on the task at hand, get very specific and commit yourself to your targets. Immerse yourself into your routine and stick to it for every shot the entire round. All this can distract you enough to help you execute especially under the most nerve wracking tournament conditions.

Another good way to help you transition from the driving range to the golf course is to simulate real golf situations when you practice. Practice with a partner. Take turns hitting shots, use different clubs and change your target frequently.

Repeating the same shot over and over again with a bucket of balls is a good way to improve basic skills, but you should also practice your short game using only one ball. This can help you get used to the process of chipping and putting the ball into the hole on the first try.

Experiment with different shots around the practice green to keep you engaged. Set up putting and chipping contests with friends to keep you focused and make you putt those three footers.

Your swing may still desert you in the middle of a round despite these efforts. Here are a few “survival techniques” to mitigate those bad rounds and get you back to the clubhouse in one piece.

If you are really struggling with your ball-striking try gripping lower on the club. A shorter club can be that much easier to hit in times of trouble. Another way to get some confidence in the middle of a bad round is to hit more punch shots using a three-quarter length back swing.

When your swing goes sour and you find yourself missing the green hole after hole, use this as an opportunity to practice your chip shots. This can help you gain some confidence with the short game and take some of the pressure off the longer shots.

By creating real time golf experiences when you practice, immersing yourself in your pre-shot routine and committing yourself to your target; you are actively engaged in golf’s process. This can help to keep you busy so you don’t get in your own way with self doubt. Try some of these techniques to help you take your game to the course.