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  • Phillip Akers

Range Practice vs Course Practice?

Every golfer will at one time or another have asked themselves one or both of the questions below.. “Why can I do it on the driving range but can’t transfer it to the course?” “Why do I hit it so much better on the driving range than the golf?” The answer to this age-old question lies within your practice habits, the structure of you practice and the practice environment in which you are choosing to do your practice.

Driving range practice Hitting a hundred balls on the range within 40 minutes is good for increasing your volume of shot repetitions, this ultimately increases your ability to be able to execute a given shot or swing. It is also an environment that is suited for skill acquisition and provides a nice safe place to test, re-test and refine any swing changes you’re working on with no consequences for hitting bad or errant golf shots. However…. The driving range bears little resemblance to the environment we find ourselves in on the golf course. On the driving range we aren’t contending with uneven ground, differing lies, your score, the double bogey you made on the last hole or the pressure we find ourselves under on the golf course. The structure of our practice on the range is nothing like the structure of shots on the golf course (we don’t hit ten 7i’s in a row), we hit a shot with a driver wait 5 minutes, walk and hit an iron and so on. Golf Course Practice (social or playing alone) On course practice is essential in cementing any changes we are drilling on the range or within golf lessons. On course practice is great as its highly specific and enough exposer to the environment can breed confidence and competence. Golfers reflect better after a round a of golf over a range session (I should have chipped out, laid up on that par 5 or Jesus I left every put short). Golf course practice can also serve as a good tool to help shape and structure our range sessions. However… The volume of shots on the golf course is drastically decreased compared to practicing on the range. Think about it when was the last time you hit the same club 3 times in a row on the course? When practicing on the golf course you are there usually to try and execute not fix (leave the problem solving and swing/technique to the range)

Pressurize your range practice! Yes, you can still smash off let’s say 50 balls in quick succession with 2 or 3 clubs to get in your repetitions and volume in Start to try and pressurise your practice sessions at the driving range and make it more golf course specific. This means don’t use the same club each shot, change targets each shot, pre-shot routine each shot and have a task or goal. Example: Driver Use markers on the range to map out a fairway width, go through you pre-shot routine and try and hit the fairway. Then hit 3-5 wedge shots, then back to driver and try and hit your intended fairway again. Repeat this 10 times and give yourself a goal of say 5/10 fairways hit. Make a note of your score and try and beat it next time. You could even have consequences at play. For instance, if you don’t reach your goal you have to hit that nice Pro V1 you’ve been saving onto the range, never to be seen again (I’ll let you decide how mean you are to yourself)


By Scott McGovern - Follow Scott @smgolfcoaching

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