Most Golfers limit their chances of improvement by the way they practice and then play. When we practice on the range what should we be trying to achieve?
If you have limited time and only get to the range to warm up before play, you should be working on just that – warming up. Do some stretching, start with some small shots like pitching and gradually move through your clubs with your full swings, have a chip and a putt, ready to go.
While going through this process it would be ideal to feel a relaxed body posture and a relaxed arm hang, feel the flow of your body and arms working together and finishing into a nice balanced finish position. Enjoy the brushing effect of the club touching the ground in your practice swings and the sweet contact of the ball when hitting a shot. Keep it simple, with your mind enjoying becoming involved in different targets and different shot shapes, hit it a little lower, a little higher, turn it left, turn it right, have some fun! If your mind is involved correctly you will be able to see a small point on the ball during the up and down parts of your swing before impact on the ball. There will be a quietness mentally, a special clarity around the process of picturing and reacting when hitting the ball. It’s time to play using what you have!
“But I want to improve technically .” Well improvement is not easy. It will require time and effort and it will require the smarts. There are many areas that we can refine, we can refine our swing mechanics ( short, long game, pitching, chipping, bunker play, putting, which ever area) which with time will give us improved ball flight and if used well mentally when we play give us more opportunities to score better.
So for those who want to improve, just hitting balls on the range will not necessarily guarantee improvement. Having quality coaching, then doing your designed drills at home in front of the mirror for 10 minutes a few times a week, maybe doing your required physical exercises and stretches at the gym will give you the added basis for improvement.
“So just hitting balls on the range doesn’t guarantee improvement?” In lots of cases this statement is correct. To get the best value for your time and effort, Break your training sessions into five areas, 1. Warm up 2. Technical refinement 3. Shot shaping 4. Pre-shot routine training 5. Competition with Skill Testing while training.
During the early phase of the warm up and technical refinement phase on the range, it is fine to just pull a ball over and hit while working on a technical feel. I would never do this if you want to be able to take your good pictures and feels to the course, so no’s 3 , 4, and 5 are so important. You must develop a good consistent pre-shot routine and that routine is the one you are going to use in competition or when just playing.
Before playing in competition I would be limiting the amount of technical thought and just enjoying seeing the required flights and targets and seeing the ball hit. At Professional tournaments you will see a lot of of the total shot routine training and in fact I have many players who hit every shot on the range with their full routine.
Most of all enjoying the beautiful environment and the chance to escape from the pressures of modern day living.
Remember Practice smart, Play smarter, enjoy.