Use the Rules of Golf to Lower Your Score -- Part 2: Practice on the Course
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Practice on the Course
Have you ever practiced on the course while playing ? If not, why not? The rules do permit practice in between holes. You can't play any practice shots during the play of a hole, but you can upon it's completion. And let's face it, there's often time in between holes because of slow play; we're often waiting on the next tee.
How much do you practice your short game? Remember, it's the part of the game that with only a slight improvement can lower your score significantly. So, why not use some of the waiting time during the course of play to practice a bit.
So, firstly, let's clarify the rules of practice during a round.
1. A player must not make a practice stroke during play of a hole.
Between the play of two holes, a player must not make a practice stroke, except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near:
(a) the putting green of the hole last played,
(b) any practice putting green, or
(c) the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided a practice stroke is not made from a hazard and does not unduly delay play
2. Some important points:
(a) A practice swing is not considered a practice stroke, so you can make practice swings at any time during the round, as long as you don't unduly delay play
(b) If the players behind you are not waiting for the green and the players in front of you are still not out of range of your next tee shot, take a few practice putts or chips. This is the time you can develop some better feel for the greens and gain confidence.
(c) You can't hit practice shots out of bunkers, but you can attempt some short shots out of rough around the green. When else do you get a chance to practice such shots.
Even if you're only able to do this every second hole, the practice will be invaluable. It's also a way to put your mental energy on the present and not get wrapped up with the past (a bad hole or some bad shots).
It's a way to challenge yourself to get to the next level. Practice handling the pressure by imagining yourself in clutch situations on that very green. It's not often you have the opportunity to experience situational practice; practicing on the very greens you're going to score on. Most of your practice putting is done on the putting green.
If you'd like some help with your mental game, fellow Canadain, Lisa Brown is a mental toughness coach for National and Olympic athletes, and she has written some excellent ebooks. Click HERE to take a look.
If you have any other great ideas of why or how to practice during a round, please share them with me and I'll include them in the next newsletter. Submit your suggestions HERE .
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