Time to start the transition from practice to play!
Many of us have used the winter to improve and groove our golf mechanics. Love those heated tees! Now it’s time to start thinking about the golf course again. Let’s start to make our practices more like real play. And attention, you folks who put clubs in mothballs for the cold months, and you lucky souls who go south and play all year – making the range more like the course is a good move for everyone!
- Visit your favorite course – in your head!
On the range paint a picture of a specific hole. Bring the trees, bunkers, slope, etc. into focus – and don’t forget to add a dab of sunshine! Now plan your first shot. Determine the club, visualize the ball path, take your swing. Did you slice it right? Then go from there, visualizing the next shot from that position. You can have lots of fun with this drill. Picture your not-so-favorite hole and see what you can do with it!
- Introduce some course-like stress into your practice.
For example, select a target and try to hit it 3 times in a row. Keep at it until you do.
- Use your pre-shot routine
On the course a consistent routine is a player’s friend. It’s a comfort and confidence builder in times of pressure. So incorporate it into your practice! Step off the mat. Visualize your shot. Pre-season is the ideal time to develop the routine that works for you.
- Master the mats and your alignment
It’s easy to get on auto-pilot at the range, using the alignment of the mats to dictate our set up. Forget the mats! Put special emphasis on lining up on targets that are left and right. Alternate it.
- Change it up
Select different targets frequently. Move from club to club often. That’s more like course play. Hit some hybrids into a “fairway”. Try your using your wedge for 3 different distances. Hit long, hit short. Pull out your driver and give it a go. Get your brain – and your swing – working in a more course-like mode.
With some creativity we can make our practices more like real golf play. It’s time to make that transition – spring will be here before we know it.
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Get out your golf bag and ask some questions
Pre-season is the perfect time to give our golf gear a critical once over. Pull out the golf bag; think back to last season; think ahead to the coming year. We’ve put together 8 basic questions to consider – just a conversation between you and your clubs.
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Maybe your “team” of clubs did the job last season or maybe you’ll be making some changes. The new clubs for recreational players are lighter, bigger, more forgiving – and more fun – than ever. Talk with a professional club fitter who can assess your game and your clubs, and tell you about all about new options. Test some new gear at the Miles of Golf Cluboratory. And when the weather warms up, you’ll be ready to hit the links.
Thanks to the Miles of Golf staff for sharing their expertise.
- When did you last replace your grips? Worn grips make us hold the club too tightly, leading to forearm stress and a host of bad swing things. A fresh grip provides traction, allowing you hold the club lightly – and correctly. Replace your grips every year, especially if they look shiny.
- Do you carry a club that just doesn’t work, that you dread using? Dread is never a good swing thought. How about that 3 wood? Many golfers hit their 5 and 7 wood farther AND more consistently. Maybe some of the clubs you carry no longer deserve to be on the team.
- Do many of your clubs go the same distance? Slower swing speeds often see very little yardage gaps in stronger lofted clubs (3 wood, 5 wood, 3,4,5,6 irons).
- How old is your driver? More than 5 years? Retire it, says Stina Sternberg at Golf Digest. New technology will bring a new level of enjoyment and performance to the tee.
- Are your shafts right for you? If you are using steel shafts, you’d better be young and strong. Graphite’s flexibility rewards the slower swinging player (women) with improved feel, distance and performance.
- Blades vs. cavity back irons? A blade has a smaller sweet spot, requiring more accuracy, and is generally played by the low handicapper. A cavity back iron is more forgiving, its weight is lower on the club to get the ball up in the air, and distributed around the perimeter to create a larger sweet spot.
- How about hybrids? They combine the best traits of fairway woods and long irons, and for most players they are easy to hit, go high and go straight. They have brought a new level of fun to the fairway – and the rough. Read more.
- Is a fully configured set of clubs for you? Manufacturers have put a lot of research into making golf easier for the newer player. They offer sets fully configured with the woods, hybrids and irons all designed to work together for players with slower swing speeds. These sets are very popular with women.
If you are in the market for new golf equipment, schedule some time at the Cluboratory at Miles of Golf. Bring your old clubs, test some new ones. The $25 fee is refundable with a purchase. Read here about testing clubs at the Cluboratory.
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