Spice up Your Practice – Play Situation Golf

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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When you go to the practice range do you find yourself getting bored? Golf is almost always easy on the range. I hit the ball close to the hole at least 90% of the time on the range. I hit soft fades and draws, control trajectory – the game just isn’t that tough. It’s when you move 25 yards over to the 1st tee that the game gets hard.  

Let’s take a look at the typical driving range. Most are 50 to 100 yards wide or even more, with numerous greens, flags and signs, etc. I think most golfers are pretty confident they can hit a fairway with any club when it is 50 yards wide! And, with half a dozen targets to shoot at you’re bound to get close to one of them at some point during the shot.  

Next time you go to the practice facility try playing what I call “Situation Golf”. Give yourself situations you come across when you are playing.

Design your own holes on the practice range. “Left of that tree is water, and to the right of the yellow flag is jungle”. Now let’s see you hit it in the fairway. Or, give yourself a shot to an island green 140 yards away, using your 140 and 150 yard clubs. Hit your wedge to an area where you have designed or imagined a green with bunkers front and left, but open right and long. Use a lone golf ball or a cluster of golf balls already on the range to define how far you need to carry the ball or the maximum distance a shot should go.  

Once you have mastered that hole, design another one to work on. One with problems on the opposite side of the hole you just finished practicing on. Design holes that play to your strengths and then create some that emphasize situations that are more difficult for you.  

There aren’t many straight golf holes. Even the straight holes have some characteristics the architect included that makes straight holes play like a slight dogleg. When you practice, don’t just work on the straight away layout of the practice facility. Create your own fairways, greens, and hazards. Design one hole playing to the back left corner of the range, then to the back right with the next. One of my favorites is if a tree or flag marked the left edge of the fairway for one of my holes, use it to mark the right edge of the fairway on the next hole. You’ll be surprised how tough it can be to hit the ball to a place you had designated as trouble a few minutes earlier.  

Put some fun and variety into your practice sessions by designing your own holes and play “Situation Golf”. You may find you handle the “Real Situations” a lot better the next time they come up on the golf course.

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.