Change your practice approach for better results

By Ed Oldham, SwingFix InstructorOctober 13, 2014, 4:00 pm

Golf is the only sport that I know of where you don't practice on the field where you play.

On the range, you can have a flat, perfect lie every time and hit balls into a field with few targets. Golf courses, however, feature uneven lies and different conditions on virtually every shot.

In addition, golfers will hit shot after shot on the range from the same lie with the same club to the same target. Go to the short game area and you can observe a golfer practice a bucket full of chips or pitches to the same hole.

To improve your on-course performance, simulate different shots as much as possible when you practice.

Full swing. When practicing your full swing at the range, rather than hitting the same club to the same target, hit a different club to a different target for each shot. Pretend you are playing golf on your favorite course. Hit the same club that you would hit from the first tee, and, based on the result, choose your club for the approach shot and hit that club. Play nine holes or play as many holes as you can in 30 minutes. If you have good targets on your range, try hitting 10 balls to the same target seeing how many out of 10 you can get within 20 feet of the target. Better yet, alternate targets with the same objective.

Short Game. When practicing short game, I love games. Playing games makes practice more fun and also allows you to keep score, making it more similar to golf. According to Sian Beilock in her book "Choke," practicing under mild levels of stress can prevent you from choking when you are under high levels of stress. Find games that simulate pressure to improve performance.

Putting. Find a few short putting games as well as some intermediate and long putting games. You may be familiar with the circle putting game that Phil Mickelson plays. He will put 10 balls in a circle around the hole 3 feet from the hole. He then attempts to make several in a row. Try this and set a goal. Try to make 10 in a row, or even 25 or 50 in a row. My favorite long putting game is to set a tee at the edge of the putting green and attempt to 2 putt from that spot to every hole on the putting green. If I 3 putt, I must start over from a different spot. You can also play nine holes on the putting green with one ball. Par is 2 on each hole, and set a goal of scoring 18 or better.

Chipping. My preference here is that you hit chips to different holes often if not every shot. I also like to play games that require me to finish out the hole by putting the ball. Play nine holes and keep score. Play a two-ball scramble taking the best of two each time or taking the worst of the two each time. Play a game I call Scatter. Take five golf balls and with a marking pen number them one through five. Toss the balls in the air and play the ball with the number 1 on it to the #1 hole, the ball with the number 2 on it to the #2 hole, etc. After you have played all five balls, go putt them in and keep a total score for all five balls.

On course. Have you ever noticed that after hitting a ball out of bounds or in the water when you drop a second ball you usually have a great result? I think golfers tend to try too hard at times and don't swing free and easy. The secret to the second ball is that you will tend to swing free and easy. Play the mulligan game. Play nine holes with the goal of swinging free and easy every time. Anytime that you allow tension to creep in, you get a mulligan.

Simulate golf as often as possible when you practice and your performance when you play should improve.

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your practice, click here.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.