This is the most frustrating thing ever about golf. Hour and hours of practice and all for nothing. You rip on the range and you hack on the course.
Why is this and what can we do to fix it?
Your range game does not transfer to the golf course
I took a little break from golfing around March and April because I’m a tax guy.
In May, I practiced up a bit and headed out for a round.
Not bad for not playing or practicing for so long, and it was at a tough course. Normally, if I shoot an 80, I’m pretty happy, and if I shoot a 90, I’m pretty unhappy. But on this day I considered the 89 to be a “win”.
Next week, I shot a 103.
Uh oh. What’s going on?
My big problem was that I was pull-hooking my drives and I was playing a course with a lot of “out of bounds left”. My “fairway in regulation” stat on all holes was terrible, and I found myself in spots where one simple layup and taking my lumps wasn’t good enough and I was facing high scores.
My pars turned into double bogies, my bogies turned into triples, and my doubles turned into quads. Do you ever have those days?
OK, no big deal, I thought, I’ll go to the range and fix it.
I didn’t even get through one bucket of balls before I was ripping drives like a pro (well, a pro that drives the ball only 250 yards, anyway). I couldn’t do any wrong for the remainder of the bucket and I had my “fix” working perfectly. I even became a little “bored” with my straight drives and I wondering what to do with the rest of the bucket.
I texted a friend to play a couple of days later, because I was so excited that I fixed my issue and, with a drive like that, I was looking forward to scoring well into the 80s.
Of course, I didn’t mention to him that I fixed my issues – I know better than that.
I’m glad I didn’t.
Again I pull-hooked all my drives except for on the last hole in where I hit a good drive as “shot 3” after pulling it out of bounds on my first shot.
Fortunately, I’m already mentally ready for these issues to come up. In fact, I plan on them happening. This helps to keep my emotions in check.
“Onward!”, I cried.
Executing the mental toughness and patience needed to improve at this game, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, read several blogs posts and discussion board threads, and went back to the driving range a few times.
The next round, at a very tough course, I shot an 82.
Cool story bro, but what does it take to get your rage game to transfer to the golf course? Well here we go then.
The REAL way to fix your mental game to take your range game to the course
“Golf is 90 percent mental and the other 10 percent is in your head”, as the saying goes and all that.
So before every round, and before every shot, think about insignificant you are and how insignificant your golf swing is as compared to the big picture of the universe.
The universe is so big. Do you ever look at universe stats?
How big is a galaxy?
And there are more galaxies than there are grains of sand on all of our world’s beaches.
When it comes to the entire scheme of things, you are not even not even a spec of dust living for more than a nanu nanu second. Not even close.
The universe gave you a certain set of golf skills and a certain amount of time to practice. You were “dealt a hand”, probably at random, and you have no control of what you have received from it. Do you really think the universe cares whether you shoot and 84 and 94?
The universe “gave you what it gave you” and that’s the extent of your talent and experience when it comes to manipulating the physics of the game.
You’re gonna fight all that? You are going to worry about changing your golf score?
It is what it is bro, and no one’s going to remember you any differently or by your golf scores anyway.
So really, stop giving such an F. Take your God-given skills, you tiny grain of sand, and enjoy the incredible gift that the universe gave you that is today.
Seeking out something that you don’t have is just constantly reminding yourself that you don’t have something – and that’s a very negative and unhappy process. If you live your life like this, when you get very old, you will regret it.
What do you think is around the corner for your golf game anyway?
So you shoot an 88. Now what? So then you strive to shoot a 78.
What? Now you’re gonna hit a 68? And then a 58? When will you be satisfied?
Actually, I can understand a rebuttal to that argument. You could argue that if you could just “shoot in the low-eighties” that you would be able to make enough good contact with the ball to where the game would be a lot more fun.
OK, so that’s true enough – I’ll give you that.
Will you get to the low eighties? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that you’ll get to the low nineties and that you’ll break 90. You can do it.
You also know that you’ll get there too, or you wouldn’t be reading this far into this blog post. Any golfer without a serious disability that has put as much effort as you have, can eventually break 90.
So enjoy the process.
You’ll get there. Just enjoy.
So how does this help you take your range game to the golf course? This mental aspect is a big part of it:
“Once you don’t give a flying F, things will get a lot easier.”
Accept where you are now and enjoy the process and you’ll be a lot happier. You range game will translate much better with this mental thought process.
Now that you don’t give such a crap (I hope) let’s talk about practicing a little bit.
Why practice when your range game does not translate to the course?
Should you practice? Does practice help?
I say yes, but you’re gonna argue with me saying that you practiced five times last week only to shoot a higher score than you shot in the previous week.
I know, I know, it happens to me all of the time.
I just went from a 103 to a 105 and then to an 82 . The 100+ scores happened at a fairly difficult course but the 82 was at a VERY difficult course
Sure, that’s incredibly extreme, but you too are fully subject to this experience. Even worse at times.
So the first thing you must understand is the word “variance”.
Let’s say you average a score of 92 and you typically shoot between 82 and 102 on any given day. Picture a scatter-graph of your scores. They will be all over the place at random, but they will still have an average.
Suddenly, you decide to increase your practice.
You will go to the range, chipping, and putting greens four times a week for two hours a day. You also decide you are going to take one lesson per month from a pro.
What’s gonna happen to your score after three months of doing this?
You might succeed in lowering your average score, for example, by one stroke.
So now your scores are going to range from 81 to 10 1 instead of from 82 to 102 -but they will still be all over the place!
Picture your new scatter-graph.
Some scores are still gonna suck, though they will be just slightly (but not perceptibly) better than your previous scores that sucked.
So you must realize that, after all that practice, when you put variance into play, there is absolutely NO WAY that you will notice a change. No way in hell.
All of that practice and you’re not gonna notice anything.
But did you get better?
Yes you certainly did.
You improved by a one stroke on average. You DID take your range game to the course.
But again, all of that variance, when spread out over a few games, will make your skill increase totally imperceptible.
This is golf and this is why it is one of the greatest games on the planet.
Like the Bagger Vance quote, “the game of golf cannot be won, only played.”
Take your range game to the course by practicing with a purpose
Now of course there are the obvious things about practice that every aspiring golfer should know.
Like-duh-obviously, don’t just bash and spray a bunch of balls down the range with no purpose, bucket after bucket, and call it practice.
Don’t just mindlessly drill 20 balls on a simple 15 year chip shot to the practice green.
Obviously you should be working on specific things to fix your game.
If you’re out the range you should ask yourself questions after you hit a few balls:
- What’s your ball flight?
- How’s your contact? Are you on the toe are you on the heel? Fat or thin?
- Are you comfortable with each club in your bag?
- Are your shots flying to low? Do they go to high?
- Are you pulling shots? Pushing them? Slicing them? Hooking them?
You need to get “YouTube certified”.
That is, take notice of your shot problems and then go back and do searches on ways to fix them. Then go back to the range to fix them.
Just work on one thing at a time with the goal of getting better.
Will you get better? Of course you will. Will it be perceptible? Probably not.
Do this with your chip shots too. Short chips, long chips, short pitches, long pitches, high pitches, bump and run, tight lies, fluffed lies, etc.
Are you good at all of these things?Are you saving a reasonable amount of pars from all these positions?
Work on all of these items specifically an purposefully and only expect your total overall skill to slightly improve. Most importantly, accept where you are and enjoy the process.
Please share your experiences of how you took your range game to the golf course.