GLT Live from Alfred Dunhill Links - Effective Practice in Practice Rounds
Today, we have our first blog from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. We will be sharing some of what we’ve seen during the practice rounds. Specifically, we’ll be discussing ways to get the most out of practice rounds, and how to use what you learn during those rounds when preparing on the driving range.
If we think of a professional golf tournament as the golf equivalent of a Formula 1 race, the importance of effective practice becomes a bit easier to understand. During the days preceding a tournament, golfers are given the opportunity to play at least one, usually multiple, practice rounds. However, many golfers simply attempt to shoot their best scores or flag hunt rather than learn the course and discover the types of shots that will be necessary to shoot the lowest score possible when it matters. Imagine if Jenson Button decided to use his practice laps to try and shatter the Silverstone course record rather than discover the lines and braking cues that will allow the best laps during the actual race. Does the insanity of trying to shoot the course record in a practice round now become more apparent?
During one practice round GLT was able to witness at Alfred Dunhill, Chris Hanson, currently- ranked 500th in the world, 160th in the money list in the race to Dubai and in a dogfight to keep his card- suggested that he felt uncomfortable with a tee shot where the wind was off the left, and he had to pick a line towards the out of bounds.
Chris also talked about some putts where the winds were strong, feeling a little stuck over the ball and maybe taking too much time to have his stroke. Therefore, on conclusion of the practice round, Chris, his caddie and Team GLT went to the practice range and did the very best they could to simulate the conditions that Chris was uncomfortable with on the golf course on the range.
Chris specifically went to the far left of the golf range, the wind was coming off the left and he used the edge of the range to simulate the out of bounds. He created an imaginary tee box, then teed up on the right side of this imaginary tee box and stared straight down the out of bounds line, hitting a shot and making it bleed back into the parameters he'd set up as the fairway.
This is a shot that was required three times during the practice round, and it’s also a shot Chris wanted to get more comfortable with during tournament play. In an attempt to implement the GLT philosophy by putting space variability and challenge into his practice, he never hit driver twice in a row. After every drive that had been set up to simulate the golf course situation, Chris moved to a different part of the golf range and hit an iron shot to a target. He then went back and hit another driver shot while staring out of bounds with the wind off the left, hitting it hard at the out of bounds and letting the wind and a slight fade lead the ball back into the imaginary fairway. This is in stark contrast to what a number of amateurs were doing -standing on the range hitting the same club to the same target repeatedly, failing to simulate situations that they will be faced with during tournament play (if you’re suddenly triggered to start quoting Einstein, you’re not alone.)
Bonus tip from Team GLT:
If you're ever fortunate enough as an amateur golfer to play in an event like The Alfred Dunhill Championship or maybe the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, don't waste your time on the range. Have your practice round, recall some of the shots that cause you stress and do the very best you can to simulate those shots on the golf range, then implement those shots into a training circuit that contains spacing variability and challenge.
For more information on how the pro's do this watch the video below