Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Golf is a strange game. It is the only sport I can think of where the practice ground is not the same as the playing ground. In every other sport practice happens pretty much in the same area as the actual playing of the game. This creates a situation in golf where people have a problem transferring what they can do in practice to what they can do on the course.
There are many ways to try and alleviate this problem that include all different types of practice and ways to work on things in the practice area. But truthfully, the best way to get better is to play your way to better scores! Certainly a beginner or even someone who may be over say a 20 handicap needs some improvement in their technique and that typically happens best on the range. But if you are already under that 20 handicap number then I believe you can make quicker gains on the course!
As a 20 handicap or better you already possess the skill to hit playable golf shots. Sure you need to hit more of them if you want your handicap to improve but you also need to know what to do with the good shots you hit and how to react to the not so good ones. Only the golf course can teach you that. Only the golf course can truly show you how to pick targets, how to manage different lies and how to deal with the emotional ups and downs of a round of golf.
As an instructor I know for a fact that I can take 2-3 strokes off of a player’s score just by caddying for them for nine holes. Advising them on where to aim for certain shots and how to deal with certain situations. When to play safe, and when to take a risk. On the golf course you also learn how to deal with your tendencies rather than trying to make every shot perfect. Golf is not a game made up of perfect shots and if a player understands their tendencies, both good and bad, they have a much greater chance of playing to those tendencies.
Every day I have students come to me who say they want to get better. When I ask them what that means, they always seem to tell me about their swing. Yes that is a part of the equation, but getting on the course and learning how to get the ball into the hole in the fewest number of strokes possible is still the goal of the game!
Jeff Fisher is Director of Instruction at the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or email@example.com.