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Practice to Play-Article by Jim Flick

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I hear this all the time from average golfers and even struggling tour players: “I hit the ball great on the range, but I’m a different golfer on the course. I don’t have the confidence to make the same swing when I know a bad shot will get me in trouble.”

Confidence comes from controlling the ball, but how do you go from hitting solid and accurate shots on the range to producing those same shots on the course? It’s helpful to understand the four stages of becoming a confident player:

First, you are unconsciously incompetent. You have no idea what to do in your swing or how to get there. This is the stage in which you learn the basics of the swing.

Second, you are consciously incompetent. You know what you want to do with your swing, but you can’t do it. You use drills prescribed by your teacher. It’s helpful to place rods or clubs on the ground to set up a “learning station” to check your alignment.

Third, you are consciously competent. On the range, you hit balls to perfect your swing, but you have to think mechanically to make the shot happen. Because you’re using verbal cues and thinking of positions, you often lose your tempo and rhythm.

Fourth, you are unconsciously competent. The best golfers compete in this stage. On the course they think about the conditions, select the right club, and play shots from point A to point B by focusing on the target. They no longer think about positions but feel how to use the club to create shots.Jack Nicklaus

So how do you get from the first stage to the fourth? As Jack Nicklaus once said, “I practice mechanics and play by feel.” Remember that practicing and warming up are two different things. When good players practice, they break the swing down into mechanical parts and then put those parts together to control the clubhead–and the ball. This is the only time these players think about swing mechanics. When they warm up before a round, they forget mechanics and rehearse hitting shots to various targets, creating playing situations. Seve Ballesteros would “play” entire holes before his round: Replicating a par 5, he’d hit a driver, then a 4-iron layup then a wedge approach. When he got to the first tee, he felt he’d already played a few holes and was in the rhythm of the round.

A strong picture can override a flaw in your swing to produce a playable shot. On the range, practice visualizing the entire shot, the ball curving in the direction you want, then landing where you intend and rolling to your target. Use the same visual technique when you hit real shots on the course. You’ll be on your way to playing your best golf ever.

Source – Golf Digest 2012


Golf is a Game of Bad Shots

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Golf is a game of bad golf shots more than it is a game of good shots. That’s why sports psychologist Bob Rotella’s book was titled “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect.” Golf is one of those games that really only suits two types of people; golfers that thrive on challenge and who have a high tolerance threshold for hardship and adversity, and golfers who want to learn how to.

If you don’t fit into either of those categories then my best advice is for you to look for another easier game to play because you will not enjoy playing golf. That is the reality of elite level amateur golf and pro tour golf; it’s a tough game that suits tough minded individuals, because the majority of golf shots you will hit will be at times a lot less than you expected and you will need to be able to handle it and not let it affect your progress.

How you handle the constant and never ending challenges you face during a round of golf will determine to a great extent how successful you will be at playing the game of golf competitively. Since most of your golf shots will end up somewhere other than where you want them to you really need to prepare yourself better for it. Golf is one of the few games where you practice usually in a different place to where you perform, and this creates a lot of problems for golfers wanting to lower their golf score average.

When you look at a typical driving range or practice fairway you realise pretty quickly that they look very different to golf holes. A golf range is relatively flat in design and wide and the tee area is also flat. The target areas will usually have flags or mounds for you to hit shots to. The driving range is nothing like the design of a golf hole which is designed to challenge you from the tee all the way to the green with narrow fairways, bunkers and sloping greens designed to make you think.

Since many elite golfers spend many hours on driving ranges and practice greens honing their golf skills this is a significant contributing factor as to why many golfers fail to make consistent progress.For a start, you spend most of your time practicing shots into a wide catchment area – even though you might be hitting to a flag or something similar. You’re unconsciously conditioning your mind to become comfortable hitting to wider target areas, but when you go to the golf course you’re confronted with something entirely different.

So the way you go about practicing your golf skills away from the golf course could be having a dramatic effect on the way you play. If you practice on perfectly manicured tee’s all the time, how can you expect to pull off great recovery shots from tough lies around the golf course like these ones?

Source Pro Tour Golf College


Simple Swing Fixes

In Technical , posted by Virginia on - Leave a comment

There are no shortcuts to getting better. You’re going to have to put in some work. That’s the bad news. The good news is: If you follow my advice, the things you have to do to improve–and make that improvement last–can be fairly simple. I’m a big believer in working on one thing at a time. So to help you get started, I’ve broken down the swing into five segments. Within each segment I’ll give you a single element to focus on. If you work on any one of them, you should begin to see positive changes in your swing.  Continue Reading→


Swing Technique

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Biggest Practice Mistakes ….and what to do about them

Practicing only swing technique
Solution Use other types of training: competitive, routine, shot shaping, and mental skills.

There is nothing better than the feel of a well-struck shot or the sight of a drive soaring through the air. Striking the ball correctly is one of the most impressive aspects of the game, especially when you are the one doing the striking. Perhaps this is the reason for such a preoccupation with the golf swing with both players and coaches.

A constant focus on swing technique, no matter how justified it may seem will be detrimental to the overall development of your game and the ability to transfer your practice to the course.

In order to create a more seamless transfer Continue Reading→


Roll It to Improve Your Putting

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Hit 2 balls.

Set up 2 golf balls side by side and then walk in to your putting set up with the putter head behind both balls as if you are going to hit them both at the same time.  Pick a distance it can be long or short and create a putting stroke relative to that distance.  Your goal is to hit both balls at once and see if the balls travel a similar distance.  Watch what happens.  Does one travel further than the other, if so which one.  If the ball that was closest to the heel of your putter face travelled further then your putter face was open at impact imparting side spin and backspin on the ball.  If the ball closest to the toe of your putter face travelled further then your putter face was slightly closed at impact.  This would be the preferred outcome.  It indicates that you are creating side and top spin on the ball which will keep the ball on line and rolling more smoothly.

Ideally the balls would roll a similar distance for long and short putts confirming that your putter face is neutral to the path.

Try this drill for a variety of length putts; the outcome could be different from one length to another.


Pitching Perfect

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The vast majority of errors in technique begin with poor set-up, so by adopting the correct set-up you will be on track to improving your pitching.

Like most short shots, the set up for the pitch shot is designed to achieve control rather than power from the shot. Setting up correctly is Continue Reading→



In Physical , posted by Virginia on - Leave a comment

Run and Hit -Pitching

Around the green create a shot easy or more difficult to a specific target.  Using 1 ball, you must hit 10 shots to that same target.   Before hitting each shot you must run around the green.  Once back at the ball, run through your full pre-shot routine prior to hitting each shot.   After you have hit your shot pick up your ball and start to run around the green again.  Repeat 10 times.  It is important to note the quality of shots early in the drill compared to the last half of the drill.  Do they drop off?  What can you do to help deal with the lack of breath or the heart beating more quickly?  Allocate points in relation to where the shot finishes.  5 points if you hole out, 2 points if the ball finishes within 1 club length, 0 points if outside of 1 club length.

Repeat this drill a various stages of you practice.