Practice Competitive Golf on the Range
Charlie King on the importance of practicing competitive golf on the range:
I believe there are two different types of practice: technique, which is the typical skill-building practice on the range, and competitive, which involves using your imagination to essentially play a round of golf on the range. When I’m with a student for a competitive practice and they step up to “hole one,” I outline what the shot will look like. For example, I’ll tell them the yardage from the tee to the hole, that there’s water on the left and out of bounds on the right. Once they make that shot, we’ll change clubs, bump the next ball so that they aren’t playing from a perfect lie, and visualize the next shot, whether it’s a pond to the left or a bunker behind the green. This creates accountability for their shots in practice. If their next shot is from an uneven lie, we have mounds built beside the practice tees so the students can work on uphill and downhill lies. We can even play from a practice bunker if necessary. By the time my students are about a 15 handicap, that’s when I will make 80 percent of practices about technique and 20 percent competitive. If golfers don’t transition to competitive practice, they’ll wonder why they are good range players but can’t transition to the course.