Welcome to this weeks tips & tricks. I hope you’re making the most of the pleasant September weather and getting on the course to enjoy some golf. This week I want to keep it light hearted and talk about learning to enjoy your golf. I’m going to perhaps give you some new ways to play and a potential new mindset towards approaching the game.
On Saturday last week we took 20 juniors onto Thornbury par 3 course. This is mainly the reason for this weeks content because it made me realise how much fun can be had on a golf course. On the first tee some of the youngers kids (6 years old) were climbing up the banks and rolling down them. I don’t tell them off for doing this because they’re enjoying themselves! I’m not saying next time you get to the first tee you should roll around in the grass but just take a second to admire your surroundings and realise how lucky you are to be there.
Lots of people get very serious and intense when playing golf but we need to remember the main reason we play this game, enjoyment. For some people it’s a job. Tour professionals need to practice and play well to pay the rent. For the rest of us golf is a hobby and hobbies should be enjoyable. Practice on the driving range should be engaging and should include games and challenges. Practice with your friends and help each other improve. On the course there are plenty of ways to improve without having a scorecard in your hand every time.
It’s coming to the end of the season now and even though it’s been another challenging year we have had more opportunity to get on the course and compete. With the weather potentially set to change and the night drawing in it’s time to start looking at preparation for next season. For me this means getting away from serious scoring and finding alternative ways to improve. I have always enjoyed some of the other formats of golf. Medal and stableford rounds can get tedious with too much pressure and I think mixing it up is very healthy. Here’s a few ideas for next time you’re on a golf course having a social round.
Close your eyes if you’re a greenkeeper. When I used to play I enjoyed playing 9 holes on my own. I like the peace and quiet and the lack of distraction. I always kept a second ball in my pocket and sometimes played two balls if I wasn’t happy with the first shot. Sometimes I tried to score as low as I could with hitting two shots and picking the best one. I always made sure to replace any divots and repair any pitchmarks. I never did this when the course was busy and would not recommend doing it all the time as greenkeepers and course marshals can get understandably frustrated. The way I see it is that tour pros do it in practice rounds and see great benefits.
I know many of you do this when you play with your friends and it creates some healthy competition. Playing a straight up match against someone can be fun and if you lose a ball off the tee you can just concede the hole and try to win the next one. If you play on your own and want to still play a match you can. Try to play against par. With your handicap if you make a nett birdie or better you win the hole and if you make a nett bogey or worse you lose the hole. This again means that if you have a disaster on one hole you can pick the ball up and move onto the next one. It’s a light-hearted way to try and be aggressive on the course and stops the big numbers stacking up that would usually cause frustration.
A two ball or four ball scramble is one of my favourite formats of golf. If you haven’t played a scramble before it consists of all the team teeing off. Then the team picks the best shot and all plays from that point (the rest of the balls are picked up). Then the next shots are hit, the best is selected and so on until the hole is completed. This format just requires the best shot by a player at that time. It can also mean playing from different parts of the course and playing different types of shots. This can be very beneficial because it completely switches the mentality of a player stood over each shot. The player shouldn’t have to play from tricky situations too often and won’t feel the need to ponder over previous errors.
Foursomes, also know as alternate shots can be a great laugh and can really put your friendship to the test. If you’re a long hitter and play with a short hitter you will be testing parts of your game you don’t normally test. The great thing about this is that you only have to hit half as many shots so you can conserve your energy! An alternative way to play foursomes is greensomes. This involves both people teeing off, choosing the best drive and then taking alternative shots from that point.
With the weather set to change what better way to play a championship course than under the cover of a driving range. If you struggle to walk a full round or can’t get onto your course because of the light or weather you can play a virtual round on Trackman 4. You can play Ryder Cup courses and Open championship venues from our very own driving range. From only £40 per hour with 100 balls included we can set you up to go at St Andrews or Valderrama. With a beer in hand and your pals stood next to you this a great alternative to sloshing around a wet muddy course in the middle of winter.
All of the alternative formats can change the way you view playing golf. Creating variation can help your long term development and keep you enjoying golf, even if you’re having a dip in form. We can’t play well all the time in this game so keeping it fun is important. Next time you’re on your own or with your pals try something different.
Like I said the tournament season is pretty much over so we’re looking towards winter programmes. If you would like to sit down and go through goals for next year let me know. We can put a coaching plan together that involves physical training, practice styles, goal setting, statistics, lesson objectives etc.
Looking forward to hearing from you.