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Golf Course Comfort Is A Matter of Imagination

Peter Harris

Peter Harris

How do you take your game from the driving range to the golf course?

I often hear golfers say they find their “A” game at the driving range, then have their “C” game on the golf course. Why is it so difficult to take what we practice but not preach it when it matters most?

While playing golf, the best players in the world only focus on their pre-shot routine before hitting a shot. Once their grip, stance, posture and alignment are set, they fire away with no swing thoughts.

How do they do that? The answer is we need to practice like we play and play like we practice.

Your driving range practice should include simulating golf course conditions by creating the same situations faced when on the course. If you have a pre-shot routine on the golf course such as standing behind the ball, picking out a target, taking two practice swings, then you should mimic this same routine while at practice.

Every shot should have a target in mind, just like the golf course, and every shot should have consequences, just like the golf course.

Create consequences at the driving range by imagining a water hazard next to the target green. Hit shots knowing if you miss it where the water is, it will cost you shots on the golf course. When hitting drivers, create your own fairway by using flags or landmarks to define the consequence of an errant shot hit outside the area.

Do you get nervous on the golf course? Create nerves at the driving range by placing bets with a friend if your shot will be successful or not. Have people watch you hit balls so you are more comfortable hitting shots in front of people on the first tee.

Finally, spend time never hitting the same club twice by simulating golf holes that you play. Hit the driver, and if you feel you hit the fairway, then hit the iron you most likely will play into the green. If you missed your target, grab the wedge and play a pitch shot to get you back on the green. If you hit your driver off-line and likely in the trees, play the type of shot that gets you back into the fairway and continue to the hole from there with an iron shot.

Condition yourself and your brain at the driving range, and you can play better on the golf course.

Someone once said practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect. I’m not sure who said it. Maybe it was my mom or dad.

But I’m sure they got it Vince Lombardi.

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column will appear regularly on the VALLEY NEWS recreation page during the playing season.