Lower Your Score from Tee to Green

Does this sound familiar, you go to the range and hit a ton of golf balls. You are practicing hitting the ball square on the face. But when you get on the course none of that practice seems to transition over. Why is that? 

Many amateur golfers spend time on the range practicing. However, these practice sessions have no real purpose. You go to the range and hit some balls, but how will that help you on the course? 

If you are brand new to golf, learning to hit the ball and get it in the air is exactly where you need to start. Get out to the range, maybe take a lesson or watch youtube videos and figure out a swing that works for you. 

But let's say you have been playing golf for a while now. You understand the basic swing mechanics and you can't hit the ball relatively well for the most part. However, all of your practice on the range just isn't helping you break 100 or 90 with any regularity. 

Your problem is not your swing or amount of practice. 

Your problem is that you are not practicing with any purpose.

Practice with a Purpose

What does practice with a purpose? It means that you need to be doing a few things while you are practicing. 

 Pick a Target

Picking a target before you start smashing golf balls is something many amateurs, particularly high handicap players, do not do. How often do you take your time at the range and look at one of the many flags out there and actually aim at them? 

Probably not enough. 

Next time you go to the range, focus on a target line. Choose one of the flags to start your ball flight on. I encourage you to use an alignment stick or a club to help you line up your feet and club face so everything starts on the same line. 

If you do all of this, the ball should start where you are pointing. If it does not, that means something went wrong with the swing, not the way you were pointed. This is the feedback you need to make improvements to your swing and better your game. 

Pick a Distance

Picking a distance to hit the ball is also very important. How often are you playing on the course and not thinking, "How far do I have to the green?", probably never. 

If you are thinking about distances on the course, why are you not thinking about distances while you practice? 

A great way to understand distances with your clubs is to either use a trackman or go to a simulator. Yes, this will cost a bit of money, but it is well worth it when you know how far you hit each club. Once you know how far you hit each club, you can take that to the range. 

Now, this is when you can start thinking more about how you attack courses. 

Think about the course you play most frequently. How long is the average Par 4? Let's say it is 400 yards long. 

Now how far do you hit your driver? Let's say you hit your driver 240 yards on average. A little bit of math later (400 - 240 = 160) you know that you will probably have 160 yards or less into the green and most Par 4s. 

So, using this knowledge you can plan your practice. You will obviously be needing to practice your driver to be sure you hit it relatively straight (or know how much you draw or fade the ball). Then you need to practice hitting your shots from 160 yards and closer. 

This will help you hit more fairways and greens in regulation. 

Fairways and greens with a 2 putt. This is boring golf, but boring golf is good golf. 

Pick a Ball Flight

Picking a ball flight to work on is another important part of practicing. You need to be able to hit low shots and high shots at times when you are in a recovery situation. 

I do want to pause here for a moment and mention that if you are someone who regularly shoots in the 100s or frankly above 80, you should absolutely be hitting the ball low when getting out of trouble. Hitting a punch shot back to the fairway when behind a tree is going to be successful nearly every time. Don't lose shots to hit the miracle shot

Now that we have that out of the way, you should still be practicing hitting it high and low at the range. 

Take a 3 wood, hybrid, and a few irons (4, 5, and 6), and hit a few shots trying to get the ball only a few feet in the air. Don't try to turn the ball left or right, just hit it straight. 

Then do the same thing with your wedges. Try to hit to get them as high as possible as fast as possible. 

Remember, you have to pick a target and a distance with these shots as well. Sometimes you will need to punch the ball 30 yards and others will be 100 yards or longer. 

This is all there is to practice for a high handicap player. Pick a target, pick a distance, pick a ball flight. Practice these 3 things with a purpose and you will see your scores start to lower. 

Do these enough times and you will be breaking 100 with relatively consistently.