As coaches, all too often we engage in the following conversation when a player’s skills seem to get lost from range to golf course:
Coach: “How did you play?”
Player: “Rubbish, but I don't get it, I hit it so well on the range.”
The question: “Why didn’t my range game transfer over to the course?” Fortunately, the Game Like Training team gets it. In fact, we thought out this series of tips to provide you with practice tasks that will help you transfer that spectacular range game to the golf course so that you never ask that question again.
Before we do this, it is important that you understand why the above is the most asked question in golf.
The key to having your best ball striking show up when you need it the most (i.e. in a Sunday match or the club championship) is to add context to your practice.
By practicing on the golf course, you are exposed to interference. Bunkers, water, trees, and varying lies provide environmental interference. Through making your practice “game like,” you are exposed to psychological interference as you are competing for a score or to complete a level. This means that your practice will look real, feel real, and provide a higher chance of your best swing showing up on the course as you learn to deal with the contextual interferences that golf provides.
Let’s put it like this: If you decided you wanted to become an Olympic swimmer and were presented with the following options, which would you choose?
Swim daily in your bath tub and perfect your stroke.
Go to the pool and learn to race against other swimmers.
I am sure that most of you reading this article would obviously select option 2. However, when it comes to golf, most players select the equivalent of learning to swim in the bath tub, aka, the golf range.
It’s not that the golf range doesn’t serve a purpose. Understanding that it is just one part of the process to improving is vital — and, in fact, it is often something that golfers fail to understand as they become content re-peatedly hitting their favorite club down the range. While this may feel nice and produce a sense of confidence, at some point a player must step out of this comfortable environ-ment and test their swing in context.