A sneaky little practice technique that works wonders before a big game

A couple of weeks ago my golf team made the golf final. Although it’s “only” another game of golf, there’s no doubt that there’s extra nerves and pressure.

Learning to accept this is part of the game and a sure fire way of playing better, not worse. Instead of letting your mind get out of control (like going over and over all the possible bad scenarios) let the thoughts come and go without attaching too much emotional value on them. This will really help.

I also had another technique that I feel gave me an advantage.

The usual situation for golf is to arrive at the course early, warm up, have a few putts and stand around chatting to team mates before hitting off. It’s all fairly normal and most wouldn’t question it.

But I like to be different and think outside the box. The “normal” routine meant there was a fair bit of down time and too many distractions. While I’m all for socialising, just prior to playing isn’t the best time.

So here’s what I did.

I went and played some holes at a nearby course.

It was perfect for me. I had the course to myself (because it was early) and I was free to do what I wanted.

– hit two or three balls
– played one hole with just my 5 iron (this is a great technique to sharpen your focus)
– hit some short shots around the green
– tried some fun shots (like a low hooks and big slices)

Best of all was the walking. I only played 5 holes but this was enough to warm up. It’s quite cold here in Melbourne this time of year and it takes a while to get going. But after a few holes I was all toasty and ready to go.

When I finished, I jumped in the car (didn’t even take my spikes off) and drove the short distance to the final venue. I got there just prior to kick-off, had a few putts, hit some little wedge shots to the new chipping green and chatted to Mike Clayton about the course design. Before I knew it I was away.

There was limited waiting around. There were no distractions whatsoever (like the practice fairway) and I was able to do exactly what I wanted. I got off to a great start and didn’t look back.

I know this is not always going to be possible with every round you play. But it might be something worth considering if the situation presents itself. It’s something I’ll certainly be doing again.

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