If you’re like many golfers, you hit the practice range before playing a round. Hitting the range is great. You can focus on riding yourself of swing flaws, find a groove for your round, and build muscle memory and confidence in the process. After driving good shots at the range, you’re ready to transfer your great swing to the golf course.
But then you get to the first tee. And what do you do? You slice your first shot into the woods, leaving you a dreadful lie. On the second tee, you pull it right into a bunker, leaving you with another bad lie. Clearly, you’ve lost the feel of your range swing. And you’re starting to lose confidence it your game. Before long, the wheels come off and what could have been a great day turns into a nightmare.
If only you could transfer your range swing to the course. That would solve a lot of problems. Well, now you can. Using the three golf tips discussed below will boost your chances of transferring your range swing to the course. And that will save you a ton of strokes in the process—and maybe help you win you a lot of money.
1. Focus on the Process
Focusing on your swing at the range is easy. You don’t have to worry about outcomes, so you’re relaxed. You just need to swing away. That’s way you hit the ball so well at the range. But focusing on your swing on the first tee is a challenge. Here’s one way to do it: When you get to the first tee, force yourself to focus on the process-oriented goal, not the outcome.
In other words, instead of thinking about shot length, think about swinging at 80 percent of your normal rate. Or, about timing your golf swing to the words “low and slow.” Keeping a process-oriented goal in your mind when you swing boosts your chances of recapturing the rhythm and tempo you had at the range.
2. Hone in on a Target
Hitting ball after ball at the range mindlessly is a waste of time. That’s why savvy golfers always pick out a target before hitting. Do the same on the first tee. Picking out a specific target focuses your mind and energy. But don’t pick out a big target, like a bunker. Pick out a precise target, like the right corner of the bunker. Then, choose an intermediate target between you and that spot, and use it as a guide to hitting to your target. Don’t worry about where the ball is going when you hit. Just swing away with the idea that you’re going to hit the target and you’ll be okay.
3. Grip the Club Lightly
Gripping it too tight can cause you to lose the tempo and feel of your range swing. Instead, you want to grip the club lightly. That restores the feel you had at the range, where you were relaxed when hitting the ball.
Also, try making a few baseball swings in mid-air to loosen your grip. These swings relax you, slow down your tempo, and flatten your swing—all pf which help you maximize driving distance. More important, it helps you stay on-plane.
In addition, try focusing on the first 18 inches of your swing. Taking the club back low and slow over those first few inches creates a great takeaway—the kind that leads to a picture-perfect, on-plane swing. Keeping your left arm close to your chest also helps your swing stay on-plane—one that’s both powerful and repeatable.
To help you groove an on-plane swing that’s both powerful and repeatable, practice the drill below:
Address a ball with a 7-iron. Now make your backswing. As you get to about shoulder high with your hands, stop and slide your right hand down to the point where the grip meets the shaft. This move causes your right elbow to fold naturally and your left arm to straighten and stretch across your chest—the perfect position for your hands at the top of the swing.
Repeat this exercise several times. Then make several swings using your normal grip. Try to imitate the feel of the swing in the drill. Keep alternating swings until they feel similar.
Failing to take your range swing to the course is frustrating. But it happens—even to a good player. But executing the three golf tips described above when you get to the first tee improves your chances of retaining your range swing. And that can help you do two things: break 80 and lower your golf handicap.