I'm Great on the Driving Range, How do I Convert to the Golf Course
I’m a great range player, but can’t get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me find my swing when playing?
Jitterbug Gang Fan
You’re not alone, Mr. Hodges. Golfers everywhere struggle with driving range brilliance, followed by golf course collapse.
Personally, I think there’s only one cure for it: you have to play more and practice less. After all, there are many people who never practice, play all the time, and maintain a scratch handicap.
How? Well, while these players may or may not possess technical perfection, they’re familiar with their shot patterns, are accustomed to the “everything counts” mentality the golf course demands, and don’t have excess swing thoughts.
On the flip side, range rats too often have no familiarity with their shot patterns (they’re ever changing), get all freaked out by the “everything counts” prospect of playing the game, and have swing thoughts-a-million.
So, if the flip side sounds like you, I suggest you spend more time on the course, and less on the range.
It ain’t the range that makes you hit the ball better, it’s the relaxed attitude you have when you’re there.
Many experience the same problem with tournament play. A guy may shoot even par in a practice round, but when the tournament is won at even par, he’s nowhere in sight. His complaint might be, “I hit the ball great on the range, great during casual rounds, and can’t pull it together during competition.”
My answer to a guy like him? Compete more often.
Tour stars experience the same problem; some play well until they’re within striking distance of the leaders, and then fall back. My suggestion? Get within striking distance more often.
You see, Mr. Hodges, it’s about comfort and familiarity, not technical perfection. A swing that’s built on the range is likely to only work on the range.
If practice, rather than play, is the only forum time and money allow, I suggest you work the majority on your short game. Not only does short- game practice summon fewer technical and mechanical thoughts, it takes pressure off your long game. And, after all, it is pressure that causes problems to begin with.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner
About the Author
The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.
You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org