DOES YOUR PRACTICE ACTUALLY PREPARE YOU FOR THE GOLF COURSE?
By Mark Fairbank – Head of Performance BSI Golf
Block practice involves the repetition of the same shot, with the same club, from the same spot at the same target. The value of this form of practice is the improvement of a specific technical component of the golf swing. However, it does not reflect the reality of a round of golf.
Golf requires a player to hit a specific shot, with only one opportunity to execute that shot, which directly influences the scorecard with various consequences, it requires a decision making process incorporating conditions and lie that influence club choice, target and ball flight.
The real skill of golf is being able to analyse each individual scenario on the course, make the correct decision and fully commit to the execution of that particular shot so that, with the one chance you have of hitting the required shot, you pull it off. Block practice does not effectively prepare you to be comfortable when required to perform a shot, once off and under pressure.
Random practice is a method of practice that involves regularly changing clubs, targets, lies and distances of each shot to closer align with what is experienced during a round of golf. This method of practice better prepares players mentally for the feeling of having one opportunity to execute a shot and having to go through the correct routines, decision making and preparation to execute that shot once off.
It is one of the most common expressions in golf, “I wish I could hit the ball on the course like I do on the range”. The inability to replicate range swings during competition is likely down to the type of practice methods you are using. Block practice affords the player the opportunity to get away with making mistakes and simply hitting the shot again and again until they get the desired outcome. This does not replicate the emotional tension around the need to execute a shot once off under pressure. Implement as much random practice as you can into your practice regime and you will become more comfortable executing shots first time during competition.