One of the most common phrases spoken by golfers is, “I was hitting it so well on the range, and then I got on the course and all hell broke loose."
Some version of this conversation is going on right now all around the world. Golfers are absolutely perplexed why they can’t hit the same shots during a round than they do when they are practicing. It’s extremely frustrating, and because our expectations are so out of line it often results in ruining a round once we hit a few bad shots.
Tiger struggles with it
A friend of mine sent me this video a few weeks ago after Tiger Woods played at the Greenbrier Classic. I want to show it to all of you to give you some perspective.
Say what you want about Tiger, but if one of the best golfers of all time is having trouble bringing his driving range swing out on the course, then maybe you shouldn’t be so upset if you are having the same issue!
I think Peter Kostis makes a great point with his analysis, and how he thinks body tension is one of the main issues for Tiger. I’ve written before about how I think tension in your body is an absolute swing killer, and to me it all starts with your hands.
How do you fix this?
I believe the way to relieve this tension is a combination of two things. You need to get out on the course more, and learn to be more comfortable with an actual round of golf. Too many golfers are just not used to being on the course, and their nerves get the best of them because they don’t have enough experience. For golfers who don’t have that much time to play, they should realize that they are expecting way too much of themselves if they think they can bring their range game out on the course.
The second way to relieve tension is to acknowledge its existence. Many times we have no idea how tightly we are gripping the club, or how tense our upper body might be before we swing. Things can happen quickly in golf, and we don’t have the time to think about it.
One thing I have always tried to do during my pre-shot routine is to relax my hands, and feel like I am gripping the club as lightly as possible. This helps serve as a reminder to me that I want my body to be as relaxed as possible before I swing.
I think the important thing to remember is that we all have the ability to hit great shots. The driving range shows us what we are capable of. However, one of the cardinal sins of most golfers is that they expect these shots to translate onto the course easily. This is extremely hard to do, and you are witnessing Tiger go through some embarrassing play because he is failing to do the same thing right now.
There is a big gap between your practice sessions, and on-course play. So don’t be so hard on yourself, and try your best to relax yourself as much as possible before you hit a shot.