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Practice like you play

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor
Torrey Pines Golf Club - San Diego area course - U.S. Open site
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Most golfers have trouble transferring their "range games" to the golf course (Chris Baldwin/GolfPublisher.com)

A lot of players seem to have trouble taking their "driving range" game to the course. We hit it so pure on the range but yet when the bell rings and we go to the golf course there is a complete change of personality.

A perfectly logical, smooth swinger transforms into the "Hulk" and everything that they have been working on to get their games in shape suddenly disappears.

Most players have a range game and an on-course game, but can't seem to fit them together. The key is to practice like you play.

If you are quick and aggressive on the course then you need to practice the same way. There is no use practicing something that you're not going to use and put into play, so stop beating yourself up and get in the game!

Golf practice time is just for that - practice.

If you are extremely quick on the course then practice that way and if you are a slow smooth swinger of the club then practice that. Whatever your "style" and tempo, are spend time rehearsing them and quit wasting time trying to do something that is different then normal.

I have seen players over and over again spend time working on their swings and it looks great on the practice tee. But when it's time to tee it up their games change completely. It's really not the players fault - they don't know any better but what if you practiced like you play. You will see definite changes in scoring and ball striking, you'll hit more fairways and greens and make fewer putts.

Players that hit it far, but not straight, should continue to work on becoming straighter but that doesn't mean they should gear down to do so. It just means that they need to have a different set of components to match what they are doing.

An example would be a player that is extremely long but try as they may they cannot play by swinging at a smoother tempo. And even if they do the very time someone hits it by them they will arch their backs, give a quick snort, rare back and blast it! This usually results in missed fairways and two-way misses or they try to make up every stroke they have lost when the par-5's come up. Both of these cases are score breakers.

I don't care how good your short game is you need to put the ball in play. Short game experts will tell you that the short game is the most critical part of the game. But if you cannot hit a fairway what good is making that 35 footer for bogey!

I do agree that short game is where you will lower the most shots, but the driver, wedge, and putter make up approximately 78 percent of all of the shots! Note that driver sets up the approach shot and it's always better to hit approachs from the short grass then the long stuff.

If you're having trouble keeping the ball in play from the tee go find the tightest driving hole you can, stay there all day and hit drivers until you find a way to keep it between the trees.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

 
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