Your Golf Has to Travel

A few days ago I got a wake-up call. I was doing business at an end of town I don’t spend a lot of time in, but which has a driving range nearby. So I took along a putter and a ball to get a little practice in before I went back home.

I get all of my putting practice on the green at the range where I normally go to. If you saw me putt on this green, you would say that I’m a very good putter. I make putts from all over the place, and I go around the putting clock and never three-putt.

Well.

On this new green, I couldn’t do a thing right. I was three-putting from twenty-five feet about half the time, it was hit-and-miss with four-footers, and my distance control was just nowhere.

I realized that I putted so well on my usual green not because of things that I thought made me a good putter. They didn’t have anything to do with it.

I had merely unconsciously memorized the green. That’s it. So when I went to this new green, I didn’t have the skills to handle the differences in green speed and contour.

I play the same courses, and I putt very well on them, because I have memorized their greens. It all adds up to having become lazy.

An under-appreciated aspect of the way Tour pros play the game is that their golf travels. They play different courses every week, that require different shots, that provide different responses to the shot, and you know what? They don’t care! The adapt after a practice round or two and it’s off to the birdie-fest.

You improve and become a Golfer by having skills that hold up under any condition. Looks like I have some work to do. How about you?

One thought on “Your Golf Has to Travel”

  1. That’s one thing that bugs me about the courses I play; they hardly ever change the cup locations on the practice greens. One of the courses has a 5 hole mini-course where all the holes are less than 70 yards. It’s great for wedge practice, but the hole locations never change, and the greens are large enough to make for some interesting hole locations. You can hit to those spots anyway, of course, but it’s nice to have a real target to aim to.

    Re: tour pro putting. Having those detailed contour/grain maps doesn’t hurt. 🙂 One other thing is that they spend a LOT of time on the practice greens as compared to the driving range (where have I heard that advice before?). They use both for their daily assessment, but the putting greens are also for acclimating to the new conditions. They spend a lot of time on the greens on the course during the practice rounds, too.

    But who needs to practice putting when you hit out of the bunkers like Jordan? 🙂

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