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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Don’t Practice When You Play

Improving your golf swing is not something you should focus on when you are playing. I consistently see people that never take the time to practice but they consider playing a lot of rounds of golf their “practice” and they wonder why their scores never improve! While you can work on your course strategy, your confidence, focus on your shots and your overall demeanor when playing, you should not be working on your full swing, your chipping, or your putting stroke when you’re playing!

If you truly want to improve your game, you will need to take the time to learn better fundamentals, whether you do that by going to a professional for lessons, reading about fundamentals or intently watching the pros live or on television and trying to learn from them. You will also need to dedicate some of your golf time on the range or on the practice green to drill these fundamentals in until they feel normal for you and until you can comfortably take them to the course and apply them under increased pressure.

Part of the reason I am writing this is to try to wake people up and get them to devote some time into improving their game, and by doing it the right way, by learning the fundamentals. But a bigger reason I am writing this is to try to encourage people to have more fun when they are playing by setting more appropriate expectations and by just playing the best you can with the current ability you have and not beating yourself up for what you are not capable of doing.

So, go out, have fun, try as hard as you can to hit each shot well, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t pull off every shot. Also, pay attention to the shots that are hurting your scores the most. Be honest in your assessment and dedicate some of your “golf time” to practicing these weaknesses away from the course. Don’t just aimlessly practice these weaknesses though; seek help from someone who is not only good at these shots but also someone that can explain to you how to hit these shots. Then, practice the new techniques you learn until they become habit and enjoy the results the next time you play.

The golf course is where we play the game, not where we practice. So when you go out to the course, have fun but don’t expect to work on your driving, or any other part of your game for that matter. Dance with the swing you brought to the course that day and have fun by trying to work out the best score possible with that swing!

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