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Taking Golf Lessons to the Course


By Dave Parks and Tighe Hamman, Poppy Ridge PGA Class A Professionals


Many articles are written on golf mechanics and swing keys to help golfers improve their games. These articles leave a lot of room for interpretation by the reader and can often make things worse. It would be like reading an article by a mechanic or doctor on fi xing your car or doing heart surgery and then trying to do those activities on your own. By the time they get to the course readers cannot make contact with the ball or have no idea where that ball is going. We call this paralysis by analysis.


other club to hit your second. You really need


to use your imagination with this type of practice. If you miss the green, hit a chip or pitch shot right there on the range. No need to putt.


Go to the next hole in I


n this article, we are going to help you transfer the


concepts from the lessons you take to the course via a more systematic approach to practice. The life span of a golf


lesson is only as long as the time you take to make the changes become natural. Your instructor will give you drills to use to help in this endeavor. When you have spent an ample amount of time working on those swing changes coupled with those drills, you will start practicing in a way that allows you to take those changes to the course. This is called random


practice. You hit balls on the range as if you are play- ing the course. Pick targets and landmarks that would map out the fairway of your home course and play the hole on the range. Hit the tee shot and then pick an-


66 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2012


your mind and repeat the process. The entire time you are involved with this type of practice you need to go through your pre-shot routine the same way as if you were on the course. If you don’t have a pre-shot routine, develop one. Your routine is key to this type of practice and taking swing


changes to the golf course. You need to fi nd a routine that you can duplicate with every shot. This will give you a sense of comfort that you can duplicate when you actually play golf. Now you are on the golf


course. You have practiced the swing changes with the drills given to you by your instructor. You have gotten to the point where those changes are becom- ing a natural motion in your swing. You have repeated the random practice on the range, never hitting the same club two times in a row and visually play-


ing your home course on the range, using the swing changes and your current or newly developed pre-shot routine. The comfort that you felt on the range will be more easily duplicated on the course as you have sensed it for weeks as you repeated the random prac- tice without the pressure of being concerned with the outcome or your shots. The sense you feel is similar to what you were doing on the range and the pressure will lessen. We are not claiming that you will feel no nerves as that would be silly. There will defi nitely be more pres-


Random practice involves hitting balls on the range like you play the course, including switching clubs and doing your pre-shot routine with every shot.


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