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Can’t Take it to the Course


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I'm a range pro.. Really good ball striking. Generally good aim etc.. I do the same routing at the course, an i'm not EVEN CLOSE. I work hard at the range 4 or 5 days a week and hit the course and my game goes to shit. I can't explain it. I'm flustered, I'm mad. I quit after 9 today.

Obviously I'm a mental case. What can I do? I go from a nice draw on the range to a pull hook on the course
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The last time I went to the range I practice 2 things: my preshot and my target practice. I like to go the range and work on mechanics so this is already tough for me.

In my preshot routine I pick a yardage and then I stand there and try to think about what the shot would look like. Then I hit it before I lose the thought.

The target practice is fun because I never hit the right club. I'll hit 6 iron to 150 instead of 8... lots of pw inside 100 yards.
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Yea I used to go to the range frequently and was in a similar situation to yours. I could hit any target on the range but was not quite spot on on the course. It sounds simple but you may want to try slowing things down on the course. I tried to make smoother practice swings and focus on a slow deliberate swing. This approach really helped me take my driving range swing to the course.

Good Luck.


MR
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I go from a nice draw on the range to a pull hook on the course

You're trying too hard. Relax your right hand. Relax your grip. Relax your mind. Pull hooks are always a result of being too strong in your right arm/hand/grip.

I'm a range pro.. Really good ball striking. Generally good aim etc.. I do the same routing at the course, an i'm not EVEN CLOSE. I work hard at the range 4 or 5 days a week and hit the course and my game goes to shit. I can't explain it. I'm flustered, I'm mad. I quit after 9 today.

When I'm at the range I work on my swing. I work on shots - I work on getting my swing to consistently make certain shots. I hit cuts, draws and straight shots, stingers, knockdowns. I hit several clubs to the same target. I hit every club in the bag. I work on my swing.

When I'm on the course I trust my swing. I know I can hit the shot I need in any given situation, I trust it, and make the swing. I try to zone out any distraction and focus on being relaxed, but committed to making good swings. When addressing the ball my only swing thought is "Make a good swing".
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Think about a course that you play at a lot. while your on the range, imagine some of the holes on the course that you play all the time, and play that hole on the range. Hit between two flags on the range that acts as the fairway, and think about the distances ect. This will help with a transition from the range to the course.

Also, you might be overthinking too many things while your hitting. You might be thinking about hitting it good, and hitting a draw, and making clean contact, and hitting it just like you do on the range. All these things go through your head and you don't focus on the shot itself. Close your eyes, take a couple practice swings like you might do on the range, and think about being on the range with your eyes closed. Or, if you don't take any practice swings on the range, just get up and hit it. Just work on things like that and you will transition yourself from the range to the course.

~RHPM
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My municipal golf course has $7 twilight (after 5:30 pm). That's cheaper than the range for me.

I'm no expert, but what about rather than 4 day at the range doing 2 days range, 2 days at the course?
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It could all be in your head. I know i was the same thing i would be fine on the range and when i would get on the course with some friends i would fall apart. I found my self getting nervous so before i hit the ball when i with my friends i would say just relax. Then when i would hit it i would be fine just like i was on the range.
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as opposite to golfman's suggestion above, when I'm at the range, I try to put as much pressure as I can on every ball I hit, just as if I were in a tournament or around friends or partners I wanted to impress at a clutch moment.

Raise the stakes on yourself at the range just like you would at the course. That'll help you work technique through the nerves.

Heck, just writing this gave me those butterflies...
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I have to be careful on the range because it is easy to hit "good" shots there that don't translate well onto the course. In other words on the range your fairway is effectively 150+ yards wide. You don't get that out on the course. You might even have a specific target in mind at the range and be hitting toward it like you want to fairly well (+ or - 30yds left or right), but on the course that same shot pattern would get you into a lot of trouble (missed greens, oob, in the drink, in the bunker, etc.). Do that a couple of times on the course and your frustration level will begin to rise. Once that happens it's easy for the rest of your game to suffer or collapse (duck hooks galore). There are ways you can guard against this false sense of confidence on the range. You can set up along a tree line on the side you usually miss your shots. That way if you miss your target by much at all you'll know it and have to take steps to compensate for it on the range. Ideally you want your range sessions to exactly mimic what you'll be facing out on the course. That way the sense of confidence you begin to build up on the range will be true.

And as the earlier poster said you should start trying to spend more of your practice time out on the course actually playing. You've got the swing. Now you've just got to put in the time on the course using it so that your confidence there matches the way you feel on the range.
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Swing at 75% - if that doesn't work, swing at 50%. Work up from there (if you have to. Most of us are amazed at how far the ball goes when we swing easy) Good luck
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Join the club. I'm Tiger Woods on the range and look like an idiot on the course.

I agree with the suggestions above. Turn the range into a course and be honest with yourself. Would that ball you just 'pured' down the range really have made the fairway or did you quietly pull that ball a little too far to the left and would that have been disastrous on Hole #5 on your regular course?
That PW shot you just hit straight at the marker, was that not two yards short and would it not have plugged itself in that greenside bunker on Hole #7?

I switched to just hitting balls to hitting specific targets and I switch clubs and targets constantly. My range has three little hills at ~140-150y that I try to hit. Take an 8I and hit the front, take a 7I and hit the flag, take a 6I and hit it over.

Then I play the mental course game. Imagine your regular course and start playing it. Hit a driver. If it's good I get to hit whatever I would hit on the course from the fairway from that distance. If it's pushed or something I penalize myself with a low iron and I need to hit within 10y of my regular target to be able to save the hole. My goal is to hit 'virtual par' over 18 holes.

All this has helped my game tremendously. Last week, for the first time, I felt confident on the course the ball would go where I wanted it to go. I could hit a green from 160y out, which I had never been able to do before.

Also, range balls have notoriously low spin compared to a course ball. A draw on the range will be amplified to a hook on the course. I used to play a nice fade on the range with Top-Flite's, but give me an NXT tour and it would sail into the woods on the course.

Good luck
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My confidence improves when I stay away from the range and only practice on the course. The range is oversimplified and bears little relation to real playing conditions.
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Obviously I'm a mental case. What can I do? I go from a nice draw on the range to a pull hook on the course

It is mental. What you have to do is develop a pre-shot routine that is repeatable and dependable. A pre-shot routine is a way to focus the mind on a specific task, and to help eliminate negative toughts. Watch someone like Tiger when he does his routine. You can time it from start to finish, and it's always the same.

Focus on the smallest, most specific target you can find on the course, not just the fairway in general or the green, but a branch on a tree or a pine cone in the distance. Visualization is also a huge factor. It seems so trivial, to stand there and picture a shot in your mind flying down the fairway, but it works! Make a practice swing behind the ball and look up, picturing the shot you want to hit as it flies into the distance and comes to rest by your target. Then, step up to the ball and make a swing. Come up with a routine where you have a trigger move, such as pulling a club or taking a step towards the ball. Then pick a very small, specific target. Make a meaningful practice swing(s) and visualize the shot as you want it to come off. Then step into your stance and pull the trigger. I gurantee you will play better. If it doesn't help your game you can call me out on this thread.
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Try going out and playing a round and just enjoy it no matter what your score. If you hit a bad shot, laugh at it and focus on the next. I think you might be surprised how well you do. If you mess up a hole, there is always the next one to make it up, unless it is 18, but then you can make up for it on the 19th.

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  • 8 years later...

I know this is an old thread, but I just had to comment on it in regards to creating a pre-shot routine. Recently I have been having great success on the range; hitting the ball clean, nice flight path, just feeling really good. I played on Wednesday and it was like i had never touched a club. Bad shot after bad shot, with a few decent ones mixed in. Obviously frustrated I started looking for info that could help. I have heard of trying to simulate a round on the range, and somewhat dabbled with this is the past. I also have heard of having a pre-shot routine, but never gave it much thought. 

Well i played 9 holes last night and included a pre-shot routine...night and day difference! I kept it simple (i think); stood behind the ball, 2 slow deliberate practice swings, lined up my target and picked a spot 5 feet in front of the ball. Stepped up to my ball, confirmed my target line, and swung. My contact was immensely better.

I think the pre-shot swing thoughts helped clear my head for when i finally stepped up to make my shot. Hopefully it wasn't a fluke and I am on to better course play! 

For anyone struggling with range to course and doesn't have a pre-shot routine, i would definitely recommend giving it a try.

Edited by byrne092
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I can't speak for you but for me pull hook means one thing.  I am getting fast, my arms outrace my body (not "connected") and the club face closes.

I agree with previous posters that tempo has a great deal to do with consistency.  I can get amped up on the course and give it just a little more ooomph.  Or what feels like a little more and is actually a lot more.  I can't tell I am doing it.  Ask one of your buddies that knows your game to tell you when/if you get fast on the course.  Figure out how to control that and things will change.  I am playing some of my best golf in recent history.  Sunday I was out on an unfamiliar course and I was expecting good things.  First nine I was all over the place tee to green, short game and putting were on.  Into the second nine my buddy says you are trying to kill it.  I try to dial things down a notch and my score drops by 5 strokes.  I had no idea I was fast. 

Mark Crossfield did a good video on taking it from the course to the range and why it is not that simple.  I searched for it but could not find it.  The essence of it was there are a lot more decisions and variables on the course, you also only get one swing at each shot.  On the range you grab a club and hit to a target from a flat good lie and repeat.  On the course, you judge the wind, the lie, the slope, the hazards, the consequences, the last shot like this you hit, where the pin is..... It is not the range.  At a certain point you have to go out and play.

 

Good luck!  Happens to everyone, well it happens to me anyway.

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On 5/31/2009 at 11:08 AM, opie said:

I'm a range pro.. Really good ball striking. Generally good aim etc.. I do the same routing at the course, an i'm not EVEN CLOSE. I work hard at the range 4 or 5 days a week and hit the course and my game goes to shit. I can't explain it. I'm flustered, I'm mad. I quit after 9 today.

Obviously I'm a mental case. What can I do? I go from a nice draw on the range to a pull hook on the course

It's not really mental. I also hit really well on the range, generally on a mat. There is more bounce from a mat, so it helps the ball flight. You can hit much more consistently because the ground is perfect. Even a grass range that isn't horrible has nice lies with fluffy grass.

I would say that if you have nice strikes on the range, you've made the first step towards playing better golf. The second stage is to start hitting that well on the course.

My advice is to spend less time on the range and more on the course. That will get you used to the environment that you need to hit.

I've been through this transition several times now, so I know it works for me at least.

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Not that I'm very good at this, but it helps me to focus on specific things when I'm on the range.

At the range, the fact that I hit a shot dead on target is secondary to things like whether I got my weight forward or not. Or whether my divot was in front of the ball and not behind it. Or where I made contact in relation to the center of my club face (Yeah, sh--nk drills. Boy was that fun). You never score a birdie on the range.

Ideally, I'm not thinking about any swing thoughts when I'm on the course. At that point you are just dancing with what you brought. 

 

 

 

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  • iacas changed the title to Can’t Take it to the Course

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