From the Practice Range to the First Tee

Do you ever wonder why you can hit shots like a scratch player on the range , then struggle to break ninety?

What happens during the ten minute walk from the practice range to the first tee?



It's as if some inner voice whispers: "who do you think you are? You're not that good. You better come back down to earth."   Obviously, you have reasonable mechanics. 

There is a saying that you might have heard that goes something like this: "you can't change dance partners before a game."   This phrase means that you have to learn how to play by feel.


When you hit balls before a round, do you focus more on locking-in the feeling of the best shots or trying to fix your swing after the poor ones? Based on my experience, I would say the vast majority of golfers try to apply a last minute fix before they tee off. Any mistakes you encounter on the range are magnified on the golf course; the more attention you devote to swing mechanics, the greater the probability of the problem manifesting during a game.


So what is the point of pre-game practice? Apart from loosening up the muscles, you want to see which clubs feel the best and develop a game plan to use those clubs as much as possible. For example, if your five iron feels particularly solid, then devise a plan so you can hit as many five irons shots as possible. Conversely, if the driver feels like a sledgehammer on the range,  then only use it on wide open fairways. 


Some devout golfers may feel that this strategy is a cop-out and the only way to get comfortable with the Driver is by playing with it as much as possible. Oh contraire!  The first priority is keeping the ball in play. Ironically, the less you come to depend on the Driver, the greater the probability of hitting it well when the opportunity arises.





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