Practice Golf as You Play It

When you go to the range, you need to work on two things–your technical skills, and your mental skills. The third phase of golf, playing skills, can’t be practiced. You learn that “on the job.”

You can, however, practice the first two at the same time if you do this one thing: never hit the same shot with the same club more than two times in a row.

After you hit your 7-iron twice (and you are hitting it to a target, aren’t you?), put that club down and take out another that is somewhat different, such as a long iron or a sand wedge. Hit two shots with that club and switch again.

If you’re practicing around the green, hit a chip twice, then pick a different target that makes you use a different club.

With the putter, again, don’t hit the same putt more than twice in a row. Hit a few three-footers, then go to a few 20-footers, for example.

Mixing  it up like this accomplishes two things. First, it keeps you from getting into a groove. After a while, you might be hitting one good shot after another, but that doesn’t help you learn that shot.

When you play, you have to set up your mind for making a shot because you only have that one chance to get it right. Banging out one ball after the other, even if they’re all good shots, skips that critical mental process.

Second, you can go the other direction. You have to set up your mind for each shot when you play, but you can’t overdo it. After three or four good shots at the range you might start thinking about it, and start tweaking what needs to be left alone.

Good performance in sports is based on trusting your training. Learning how to trust is just as important as perfecting your physical skills.

So you don’t have to hit only two 7-irons, or any other club,  and call it a day with that club. Just hit your two shots with it, and work with a few other clubs before you go back to it.

They say to practice as you play, and this is one way to do that.

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