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.