Why can’t I take my range game to the golf course?
This is one of the many challenges faced by all levels of golfers who continue to be frustrated by this transition. The answer to this question involves several possible mistakes golfers often make. With a little tweaking you can make a successful transition from the range to the course!
One reason for poor transition from the range to the game is purpose. While on the range, before a round, you are usually trying to get comfortable with your swing. You are trying to see how it feels that particular day, searching for some swing key, etc. However, when you get to the tee during a game it’s all about performing: hitting a good golf shot, avoiding trouble and trying to make as few strokes as possible. With such different purposes, it’s no wonder you make an entirely different swing on the first tee than on the range.
Another reason for poor tee performance is fear. If you hit a poor shot on the range there is no penalty; however, on the course it matters greatly as there are consequences. Fear, now enters the picture, which introduces tension. With tension in the mix, your tempo becomes affected, which ultimately hampers the freedom with which we swing. A common mistake many golfers make on the range is hitting the same club over and over again until you get it right. You just set up and hit ball after ball, over and over again with no specific target in mind. Once you get to the first tee, however, it is completely different. Now you have to aim at a target and focus on where you want to send the ball, your alignment suddenly becomes important. Your rhythms are different from the range to first tee, and you need to make that transition in order to be successful. One way to correct this problem is to imagine playing a few holes while at the range. For example, pick a target on the range and visualize hitting there with your driver, imagine the shape of the fairway, and hit the shot required, fade or draw etc. Then look for a flag that mimics your approach to the green, and play that shot. Do this for a par-5, par-4 and even a par-3. This will give you more real life course conditions, and better prepare you for your upcoming round.
In conclusion, changing the way you practice your pre-round warm-up by visualizing the course and shape of the fairway and practicing with a target will help you make a successful move from range to first tee. You come away with a sense of already playing a few holes when you get to the first tee. This will give you the confidence needed to have a more enjoyable round and a better overall experience.