Have you ever hit 3 or 4 perfect shots in a row on the driving range that makes you wonder … “why can’t I do this on the golf course?”
The mystery of why you can’t carry consistency from the range to the course has baffled many Golfers. And as there has been golf psychology books written (and bought by desperate Golfers) about this subject … the issue you’re having has much more to do with how you practice versus the witch doctor teachings of Rotella and others.
Because there’s a huge difference between being able to hit consecutive good shots while on the course versus the process used on the range. In fact – hitting the ball on the driving range is almost an entirely different sport than hitting the ball on the golf course.
For example: can you name another sport (besides golf) where the majority of your practice isn’t on the field of play? Basketball is practiced and played on a basketball court; baseball is practiced and played on a baseball diamond; tennis on a tennis court; hockey is practiced and played on the ice; volleyball is practiced and played over a net; billiards on a billiards table; etc; etc; etc.
In golf – we practice on the driving range (or short game area) and play on a golf course … two totally different games being played. For example – below are 4 major differences between the driving range and the golf course:
You’re Not In Control Of The Situation – On the driving range – you hit a ball when you want to hit a ball. On the golf course – you hit a ball when it’s your turn (it doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not … you gotta hit). So instead of hitting at your leisure (when you feel as if you’re ready to make a good swing) … you’re hitting because you don’t want the other Golfers to get mad at you for being slow. Thus, your mind isn’t ready to allow you to hit a good shot.
Example: have you ever wanted to step away from the ball because it just didn’t feel correct … but you didn’t because you’re playing with other people? How’d that work for you?
The Golf Course Doesn’t Allow The Luxury Of Repetition – On the driving range – you’re able to hit the same club over and over again until you feel you’ve “got it”. On the golf course – you rarely hit the same club twice in a row … as opposed to the 15 or 20 shots in a row on the range. Thus, on the range … you can make small adjustments every shot that will massage you into eventually hitting good shots with that club. Whereas on the golf course … you’re switching clubs each shot and it’s harder to get into a rhythm.
Example: you stand a different distance from the ball, as well as having a varied width between your feet with each club. It’s easy to make small adjustments every shot while on the range so that you eventually find your balance for that particular club. It’s much more difficult on the golf course when you only have one shot.
You Practice Opposite To How You Play – On the driving range – you usually start with your shortest clubs (wedge, 9 iron, 8 iron) and progressively move to your longest club (Driver). On the golf course – you start with your longest club (Driver) and progressively move to your shortest clubs (wedges, short irons and putter).
Example: you’re practicing “bass-ackwards”. That’s like training a racehorse to run around the track counterclockwise and then on race day having the horse run around the track clockwise. You’re practicing completely opposite of how you play on the course!
There’s A BIG Difference Between 200 Yards Wide And 50 Yards Wide – On the driving range – there are no sand bunkers (other than possibly a meaningless area that is put next to a target green for nothing more than aesthetic reasons), there’s no water and the trees on the perimeter have no bearing on your shot as you have zero anxiety about the consequences of hitting an errant shot. Plus, you have a minimum of 200 yards of width to work with.
Meaning – the golf course is much tighter and more claustrophobic when getting ready to hit. And if you hit a bad shot on the range, all you need to do is take as much time as you’d like to make the necessary corrections and then drag another ball over to hit. If that shot is bad … no big deal … just say “I can’t believe how bad I’m hitting it today” … make an adjustment and hit another. Who cares – there are 47 more balls you can use to figure it out.
On the golf course – every shot has an opportunity to go into the sand, water, tall grass, behind a tree, etc. And there’s no doubt that factors into the swing you’re about to make.
The point is – many people wonder why they can hit the ball so well on the range … but play so inconsistent on the golf course. Yet, the range and the golf course are very different games.
The winner on the golf course is going to be the person that understands how to practice in a way to prepare themselves for success while on the golf course.
The Monkey spends his/her time practicing the game of swing on the driving range
The Player devotes his/her time to practicing the game of golf
Who do you want to be?
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life