I bet once a week someone comes into the shop looking rather dejected about their golf game saying they hit it great on the practice tee but it’s a different game when they get on the course. Or, if they do start out playing well it doesn’t last and eventually the wheels fall off. They usually finish their sad story with, “I’m just a Range Pro”. Why does this happen?
Most of the time when people practice they have a pretty relaxed approach. Maybe you spend some time talking with your buddy who is practicing next to you – it’s a social event. The range is 100 yards wide and you hit the fairway every time. No water, no trees and probably no bunkers. Given these conditions, I’ll shoot well under par every day.
But, most golf courses aren’t laid out like this. Fairways may be 30 yards wide or less, and there are trees, hazards, bunkers, uneven terrain, and a lot of other distractions out there, not to mention the pressure of the beer you are playing for.
The practice area is just that – for practice. Practice what your coach has been working on with you. Practice hitting to specific areas. Practice your mental game, the thought process. Practice being aware of what your body is doing, your grip pressure, what muscle groups you are using, the amount of physical effort you are putting into each swing. Practice hitting your short irons 10-20 yards shorter than you normally do. Practice using a three-quarter swing.
Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect!! Practice what you will do on the course. When you get on the course, practice what you did at the practice area, mentally and physically.
I know golf is different when you are on the course. I know it is different when you are playing a match and your pride is on the line. I know it is a lot different when you are having the round of your life and trying to hold it together for the last few holes. But, it’s all a lot easier if you have practiced properly and trained yourself for the situation.
Being a Range Pro isn’t usually a complimentary label to have. However, if you truly practice like a pro, you can be proud of being a Range Pro and your game will be more like a Pro’s, as well!
Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting www.estrelladelmar.com.