I'm a player. Certainly not a practicer. I find when I start getting too mechanical or trying to find the perfect swing, things get worse. I definitely play with my instincts. Hitting a shot and reacting to the outcome of that shot, whatever that may be. It's worked so far. The only thing I usually spend time practicing is putting but even that is very limited
Are you a player or a practicer? - Page 3
Poll Results: Are you a player or a practicer?
32% (25)Option C (Both)
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When it comes to picking up a golf club, more than half the time I practice rather than play.
I have golf courses along the route to and from work, so sometimes I will stop off and hit a small bucket. Or, I may practice putting for 15 minutes in the early morning before it gets hot. It's not like I go hit balls for three hours. Normally, it's 45 minutes or so and then I have to go do other things.
The last couple of years, I have had major problems with my longer clubs, so I have tried to work the kinks out by practicing (and taking lessons). But, I still manage 3 tee shots OB per round. I may need to find a gentler home course - we have 12 holes with OB both left and right.
I find myself practicing more, mainly hitting balls into a large net from a turf mat. I feel the reps are the only true method for improvement, although not always enjoyable.
I recently ready two books on the subject of developing "talent" -- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. In a nutshell, both authors arrive at the same conclusion on how to become good, even great, at anything -- hard work! The authors discovered it's a common myth to believe people are born with talent. The ones who achieve true greatness work on their techniques for a very long time, with most starting at very young ages -- Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods being classic examples in golf.
I'll write more about these books in the appropriate book section, but I wanted to reference them here as they relate to practicing. I feel there is no substitute for hitting a large number of balls.
I'm definitely a range rat. It's come to be that even thinking about going out on a course causes me to become nauseated. It just gets worse if I actually try to play. Sad, I know but at least it clears the way for people who really are players and do enjoy the game. To me exploring the golf swing is a lot of fun so I'll be happy to support golf in a way that brings me joy.
Gee, wouldn't this be an interesting topic? I wonder why no one here has ever discussed it. Like, how a guy will become a tour pro just by practicing for 10,000 hours. But only if he really, really wants to do it!
I was back out at the range for 2 1/2 hours yesterday. It was about 95 degrees so I drank a lot of Gatorade and took a few breaks to sit under a tree. I hit 130 balls from SW to Driver and back to SW. I'm seeing improvement nearly every time out. I'm going to try to play on my next day off (Tuesday) but I'm going to have to go to their putting and chipping greens in advance as putting and chipping aren't worth the time at my range due to longer grass on the green than on the local courses. I really prefer to play but just can't find the time.
I guess I'm really a player that hates to look bad. I practice a lot. Not just at the range, I spend a lot of time out in the yard chipping into small targets.
At one time I was a scratch golfer. Due to a serious back injury, I set the clubs aside for 20 years. I missed it every day.
I can't think of many things that are more enjoyable than a purely struck shot. I love it.
I enjoy being on the course, but I take my game seriously. I do not like mediocrity. Practice makes the GAME a lot more enjoyable. I don't drink, so if I'm on the course, I might as well do the best I can at the moment.
Play versus practice -- they really seem to be less complimentary of one another and more at constant odds.
I played high school golf ages ago (our the team sucked, but we proudly did so together), and playing was the only thing I did. We didn't have access to a range, so playing and practicing were pretty much one in the same, and improvement over the next few years following high school continued to develop only from being on the course. Although scores from then wouldn't reflect it, I do recall enjoying the game more and finding it easier to do. I guess that was from being young, naive, with a freedom of not knowing I should care more. Now, with age comes wisdom -- some anyway -- exposing me to the harsh reality of expectations and consequences. Hitting poor shots and having to recover from them (more from the emotion than through the effort), seems to be my default position. I have accepted failure happens in golf, and I don't find enjoyment or excitement in that. Facts suck.
Golf, however, is about improvisation (Bubba!). Sure, many shots are similar, but none are really the same. Variables change (redundant?), from day to day, course to course. Wind, lie, incline, temperature, what we ate for breakfast... you know the list. We have to adjust, bringing all our knowledge and senses harmoniously together to conjure the all-important "feel" for the shot. But, we have to have the mechanical structuring to pull that off, and that comes from all of those reps -- hoping we're doing it correctly -- emptying buckets.
And that's where play and practice clash. It becomes far too easy to forget you're performing (improvising) and resort to a recital. It's the same difference in watching Eddie Van Halen rip away at the guitar in 'Hot For Teacher" and a youngster plink away on stage at "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on piano. On the course, you really have to trust that you "know what you know," inform the conscious mind to go elsewhere for the moment, and just let it happen, without trying to create what you think is your best Hoganesque reproduction. Like Harvey Penick said, "Pretty is as pretty does."
Unfortunately, there can be no line that truly separates play from practice. Both are the key ingredients to this game. And very few -- myself included -- have the recipe.
For me, the game is about playing. To play reasonably without worrying I'm out of place with my foursome, I practice. Other other day I arrived early at the range, practiced short game only. Something clicked. I went out to play the round and lo and behold, I was 'up and down' and flopping like a pro. Hmmm.....maybe this practice thing has some merit. I should have practiced my tee shots, would have done better driving with my putter <sigh>
After making a comment in another thread about being more of a player, I got to thinking about a Jim McLean article in Golf Digest that I saw this summer about being a player vs. a practicer. I did a quick search of TST to see if someone had posted it and came across this thread. Time for a revival I guess.
Before I continue, here is the aforementioned McLean article: http://www.golfdigestcanada.ca/instruction/are-you-a-player-or-a-practicer/
Personally, I'm a player, not a practicer. I will spend 10-15 minutes on the range before a round to warm up, and I might practice my short game some. But I would definitely rather be playing. I have noticed that I tend to lose focus on the range and will fall into bad habits before long. I've tried envisioning specific holes that I play, or trying aim at one point and draw the ball to another point; it all gets boring really quickly. To me, golf is about feel and results. I've never been big on the nuts and bolts of the game.
I would definitely rather be playing. I feel like I get more out of actually playing than practicing, as weird as it sounds. When I'm actually on the course, I'm much more relaxed with regards to my swing because I don't have too many thoughts running through my head. When I'm on the range, I'm worrying too much about working on one particular thing and I end up pressing and becoming frustrated. When I'm on the course, I have a clear head and just focus on the natural flow and tempo of my swing take over and I hit much better than I do on the range. I still practice and try to improve certain things on the practice facility, and then bring those aspects to the course which I enjoy much more. I think the difference for me is that on the course I'm more concerned with my alignment and my plan for where I want to place the ball, and this takes away the mental road block, keeps me from thinking too much about my swing. When I'm on the range, I just think so much about what I'm trying to execute in my swing that I struggle. This is a common theme for me; in basically all sports and other aspects of life, I perform A LOT better when I have a clear head and literally DONT THINK at all. It just removes all inhibitions.
It'd sure be nice to be a player, since practice is expensive too and doesn't help me feel like I'm progressing much. Even though I feel more comfortable practicing and can do so more conveniently, none of my goals are related to it. They're all about scoring, playing new courses and facing an actual challenge rather than just hitting shots. So even though I might be getting better with my swing, it's pretty meaningless unless you play. Not only that, it's distracting to have so much equipment changes and the winter getting in the way of things. I still need to get used to some of my new gear, not to mention the most recent swing changes. So I guess I'm a practicer resolving to be more of a player in the near future.