Taking training time to the course, and the course to your training.
If you have played golf long enough, you've probably heard the old adage: you're either a range player or a course player.
What exactly does this mean?
Well, a range player is one who loves to practice and can hit shot after shot the way they want to on the driving range. A course player, however, is the exact opposite: one who plays well out on the course, but struggles with ball contact and shot shape on the range.
The real question is, "can I be both?"
You can have both, you just have to change your thinking and your approach!
If you are a range player, you most likely feel some added pressure out on the course because you don't have the opportunity to grab another range ball and hit it again. The secret to fixing this is to practice on the range by setting up drills to build up the pressure to mimic what you might feel on the course.
For example, you have to hit four out of five shots on the green before you can move on to hitting the next club. If you're working on your short game, force yourself to get up and down five times in a row. (Hit your chip shot, then putt immediately after.)
Trust me on this, when you get to number four and you have a 3' putt, you'll have a few nerves rolling. The final key is to view each golf shot on the course the exact same way you would on the range: follow the golf ball wherever it goes and hit it again. Above all, have fun!
If you're a course player, you likely struggle to recreate a similar feeling to executing a shot on the golf course.
Here is the key: setup for each shot the exact same way you would on the course. Go through your pre-shot routine, stand behind the golf ball and visualize the shot's trajectory and shape. Practicing this behavior places more emphasis on that single shot, rather than knowing you have a whole bag of golf balls. Play games when you're practicing, hit your tee shot with your first range ball -- if you hit the fairway select another flag on the range and hit your second shot. If you hit the green -- excellent! If you don't, grab your wedge and hit a pitch shot to another target on the range. This is an excellent way to prepare to play!
I hope these tips help you to blend your practice and playing sessions. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. I would love to hear how you play and practice!