|As a teaching professional, I hear all the time that “I can hit it great on the driving range, but can’t perform the same shots on the golf course.” In order to help my students take their best game to the course, I recommend a playing lesson.
During the playing lesson, we don’t talk about mechanics. Instead, we discuss strategies to play better.
You should arrive 30 to 45 minutes prior to your starting time in order to stretch, hit range balls and spend time on the practice putting green.
Before we tee off, we go over the score card and set scoring goals. You then keep the following statistics: Fairways hit off the tee, greens hit in regulation for their goal score, and putts taken.
It is important to have a distance device, either a watch or binoculars. In order to play good golf, you need to know your distances. Start at 100 yards and remember each club will be 10 to 15 yards apart. For example, if your 100-yard club is your 9 iron, then your 8 iron should be around 110 to 115 yards.
When we get on the first tee, we talk about what to do on the teeing ground. You start by looking at where you want to land the ball. Then look at where the bunkers, out of bounds and hazards are located.
Go to the side of the tee that gives you the most room to aim away from trouble. Also, if you have a consistent curve on the ball, go to the far side of the tee that gives you more room to allow for that curve.
You must have a consistent “pre-shot routine.” Start behind the ball and walk to a spot where you aim the ball first and then align yourself parallel to the target. Before you swing the club, take a deep cleansing breath and focus on tempo and target, not mechanics.
Learn how to accept playable misses. Your post-shot reactions and self-talk are important. Try to say something positive, even after a poor shot. For instance, “My tempo was good, but I need to work on my aim and alignment.”
At the end of the round, we talk about what you did well and then discuss what you need to practice before you play again.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com