THE WEEKLY HERALD   EVERETT, WASHINGTON
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Learn from practice but focus on game when you’re playing

Hello Ballinger buddies. As you may have read, The Weekly Herald will no longer be published, so this is my last column for the year. In light of this, I want to talk briefly about the hardest golf lesson of all: how you take what you have worked on and use your new skills on the course.
It is one thing to fix some swing flaws at the range so that the ball flight is getting close to what you want; it is quite another to be able to execute that same shot on the course with out-of-bounds to your right and water to your left.
The biggest thing to remember is that at the range you are working on honing a skill, while on the course you are playing a game. Think of it as a game. While on the course, the target demands the vast majority of your attention. Does it matter how the ball got on the green as long as it is there?
I use the following example as a learning tool to help my students understand this point. I played baseball all the way through college. Throughout my playing years, I reminded myself of this mantra: In the batting cage you work on technique, mechanics, etc. When you are at the plate in a game, you see the ball and hit it.
When you are in the game or on the course it is too late to think about all the things that you worked on to make your swing better. At the most you take one technical thought onto the course or to the plate. For example, in baseball my thought was “quick hands.” In golf, it is “big shoulder turn.”
These are simple reminders for me. Notice they are not specific. Undoubtedly, during a round of golf you are going to make bad swings. The last thing you want to do is to try to fix what went wrong during the round. You should be thinking about the upcoming shot and where you want to hit it.
After the round you can replay all the bad swings that you made and try and correct them later at the driving range. So remember that when you are on the course playing, focus very specifically on the target, have one swing thought and let your body perform the way you trained it to at the range.
As this is my last column for The Weekly Herald, I would like to thank everyone for their questions, interest and kind comments regarding these articles. I hope they have helped. Please continue to email me questions and comments. I enjoy reading and answering them. Please let me know if you would like to set up lessons and get your game in shape. Come out to Ballinger Lake GC and say hi. Again many thanks.
Tyrone Hardy is co-owner of Hardy Golf LLC and director of golf at Ballinger Lake Golf Course. For more information go to www.ballingerlakegolf.com. Send comments or questions to tyroneh@ballingerlakegolf.com or follow Ballinger Lake Golf on Facebook and Twitter.