Take your range game to the golf course!
Doug Hammer

Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) -- Are you a five handicap on the range, and a 25 handicap on the golf course? If you resemble many of the clients I run into, the answer is yes! How in the world can you take that consistent range game to the golf course?

Actually, you are taking your range game to the golf course. The problem is not the golf course game, but the range game itself. Being successful on the golf course is a matter of preparing effectively on the range. Beating a bunch of balls with your favorite club or solely the driver at the same target down the range, is not an effective way to prepare for a round of golf.

Everyday when I make my way to the lesson tee, I drive past the golfers warming up for their round of golf. I see the same thing every day: Golfers hitting driver WAY too often, always hitting toward the same target, and hitting so fast that they never actually watch the ball flight. Then, after their round, those golfers come back to my lesson tee and wonder why they were so inconsistent that day. Sound familiar to anyone?

The next time you head to the range for a practice session, or simply to warm up before your round try these simple suggestions and I know you will become more consistent.

1. Get there with plenty of time to spare. Too often we get to the course in a hurry. Your golf game resembles your pace in life; if you are rushing to make your tee time, you are better off not hitting balls!

2. When you practice, practice the club and shots you are the worst at. You are only as good as your weakest shot!

3. Take your hands off the club and go through your routine for every shot. It is easy to machine gun balls out there, but you don?t play that way on the course, so why do it?

4. Change your target on every shot. This will simulate the golf course. Too often we just aim straight away, but on the course you will need to aim different directions for nearly every shot. It is important to be comfortable with your aim.

5. Hold your finish on all shots until the ball lands or stops moving. This is important for two reasons: First, it is important to learn from the flight of the ball to judge how you are swinging or how the elements may affect the flight. Second, if you hit a bad shot, but are holding your finish, everyone else will think you hit a great shot!

Remember to follow these tips whenever you are spending time on the range. Consistency is a result of great preparation. Prepare on the range exactly as you are on the golf course and you will find consistency. Good luck with all of your practice sessions in the future!

PGA professional, Doug Hammer, is the Director of Instruction for Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Doug has been with Troon Golf since 1998, teaching full time since 2001. Doug has studied under some of the game's greatest teachers in Tim Mahoney, Hank Haney, and Mike and Sandy LaBauve. Since 2001, Doug has taught in 10 U.S. states and a short stint in Japan. With this experience, he brings a very patient and consistent approach to the lesson tee, and feels that he can help all levels of players reach their goals.

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