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How do you relax on the course?

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  • How do you relax on the course?

    How do you relax on the course during a round, especially during a match but even just regular play? Often a common issue with amateurs is; "I can't seem to take my range game to the course" so how or what do you do to allow your range game to come out of hiding?

  • #2
    I breathe deeply and slowly. I also tell myself to smile. It may not work for everyone but it enables me to relax and allows me to focus on the next shot.


    • #3
      Hey K5...

      I often am asked that very question: " come I can't seem to bring my Range game to the Course?"

      My response is always the same:

      "...You can't seem to bring your Range game to the Course, because you NEVER bring your Course-game to the Range (practice)…"

      Can you honestly attest that EVERY practice-shot you make at the Range is with the SAME focus, care and determination?
      Do you go through your ENTIRE pre-shot routine on every shot?

      They're TWO different "games"?
      One full of laziness, carelessness and minimal (if any) focus....
      The other full of anxiety, fear, trepidation and consequences.

      You can't bring one to the other because you never "practice" your Course-game.
      The place to make the correction is NOT on the Course; but on the Range...

      dude abides

      "OLD" Forum Participation

      Entry Date: 18-JAN-2011
      Posts: 1813
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      "Be water, my friends"


      • #4
        Hi K5 -

        like any state of mind - 'relaxation' might well be associated with your expectations on the day and perception of how you're performing relative to that.

        the Dude has already quite capably weighed in about 'Driving Range vs. Course Game' .. and I think that is at the heart of what I'm also trying to express.

        if the goal is to be relaxed - I think that much of that is based on being very prepared for your round of golf. If you have your golf bag organized, know where everything is - have taken the time to stretch, warm up and have the 'little things' sorted.. your level of general anxiety will be fairly low. You'll have room to find your focus and have time to make any adjustments for the day.

        Think about the mental difference between your expectations on the range where you're 'trying to find something' or 'work something out in your swing' vs. having to hit specific shots to specific targets.

        Some of the keys to taking one's 'range game' and making it the 'course game' is to make your 'range game' much more like what you're doing on course. Have some expectations, prepare yourself for what you plan to do .. open and close your session with hitting actual shots. Have a very specific target and corresponding target vision in mind - as that's how it will absolutely work on the golf course.

        You don't want to make your practice sessions a source of great anxiety .. but if your intent is to improve your game and feel confident and relaxed on course - it's important to identify and do the things that will translate into the results you want to experience.

        Success builds on success - and I wish you the best!



        from the hidden Ravine below 13th at CN G&CC
        tu nunquam hic

        Secret Swing Tech c/o Pigaman @ Crackpot Labs

        let energy instead of style define you.

        Proud Member 'Quote Yourself Club'


        • #5
          I find that I get anxious or nervous when I start thinking about past shots or future consequences. As long as I stay in the present, I stay calm and relaxed.

          Shawn talks a bit about this in his video "Mental Game Baseball for Golf." Once a shot is hit, you evaluate RIBS, rhythm, impact, balance and strain and that's it, the shot is over and you move on. You don't adjust, at least consciously, unless a pattern develops. The past is the past. Dwelling on it will only interfere with your performance on this shot.

          I find it impossible to not think about the future--i.e. consequences of up coming shots. But, that doesn't have to interfere. For me, it comes down to this: The situation may dictate what shot I hit, but not how I approach and execute the shot.

          An example. I'm in a match and my opponent hit his approach shot five feet from a pin tucked behind a bunker. I am 120 yards out with a good lie.

          Living in the future thinking would go like this: OMG, he is close. I'm going to have to hit the best shot of the day. If I don't, I'll be in the bunker. He's going to make the putt and I'll get par at best and lose the hole, which will put me two down and I'll lose the match. That will be a disaster. My wife will no longer love me. She'll take the kids and move back in with her parents. I'll become a drunk and a failure and lose my job and I won't be able to pay child support and the kids will starve..." (Okay, I over exaggerated there a bit, but you get the gist.)

          Staying in the moment would go like this: The situation (which I have no control over) is that he hit his approach shot to five feet. He has a good chance of making birdie. That means I need to change my strategy. Normally I would hit a pitching wedge to the middle of the green. The situation calls for aiming at the pin. I'm 120 out. My stock gap wedge is 115. A stock gap wedge will easily carry the bunker and roll out a bit to end up near the hole. So, my intent is a standard gap wedge with the flag as the target. I then approach and execute the shot the same as I would if I was hitting my pitching wedge to the middle go the green.

          I try to approach and execute all shots with the same intensity, mental focus and routine. I practice this on the range. I don't hit a shot on the range without a target, intent and focus, unless I'm working on something mechanical, which will be only a small part of any range session. I go through a full routine on each shot. This will help a great deal in taking your range game to the course.

          One more thing about routine. I found that I work best when I have a "trigger" to signal the start of the execute part of the shot. Once I have all the thinking and decision making out of the way, I snap my fingers or tap on my right pocket in the rhythm of my swing and repeat my swing mantra in my mind. I say "to the target" in time with the taps and this sets the rhythm. It refocuses me to the task.

          A round of golf at my club lasts 2 1/2 to four hours. I can't concentrate on golf the entire time, and I don't try. Instead, I just try to stay in the moment by being aware. I've done it on enough that I don't consciously have to try to stay in the moment most of the time. It takes some practice, but once you have it, it becomes second nature. And to me, it makes the experience of a round of golf more enjoyable.

          Try the following to stay in the moment. The next time you go out be aware of different things between shots. For one hole, concentrate on your breathing. Feel each breath go in and out. On another hole, pick out a tree and describe it to yourself, notice every little detail you can about the tree--what color are the leaves, how is the light hitting it, what texture is the bark, how big a shadow is the tree casting... On one hole notice the clouds, be a kid again and pick out shapes. One one hole feel the wind on your face. Walk slowly on one hole and fast on the next. Concentrate on how your foot feels as it hits the grass on each step. If you're in a cart, drive at half speed one hole.