European Tour coach Karl Morris explains why hitting endless balls at the range isn't the answer to lowering scores
I have often said that I believe I would never have had the role in golf I am fortunate to have if golfers trained better.
There can be no other sport where so much effort in practice goes so unrewarded in the game itself.
Hour after hour hitting ball after ball on the range, often with very good results. Yet how much of this ‘work’ actually transfers to the golf course in competition?
Many golfers spend their entire life working hard at their game with little or no actual progress in terms of lower scoring.
This cannot be because we don’t have the ability to move our body in a certain way, and it certainly isn’t the equipment which is so very superior these days. For me it is to a large degree because golfers have no real idea of how to train effectively.
I say ‘train’ because this is a major distinction that needs addressing.
Instead of thinking you are going to go practising golf as you have always done, when you think in terms of training for the game you open up a whole new dimension.
A surgeon will train to become a surgeon and then he will practise surgery. A lawyer will train to be a lawyer and then he will practise law.
I want you to shift your mindset completely so you train to play golf and then go and practice being a golfer on a golf course.
You become a golfer by creating golf shots in the only place that really matters the golf course.
On YouTube you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of experts telling you how you should move your body, what positions the club should be in, all of the fancy terms for angles and planes, yet I promise you very little video space will be informing you of how to train in a way that will maximise your return on investment both of time and money.
The research is very clear but if we want to take our golf game onto the course itself we need to understand how we learn, we need to understand how to transfer skills, but above all we need to learn how to train effectively.
The most exciting part of this adventure is just what could be possible for you in the future. I firmly believe that no matter what your age is you could, in the next 12 months, transform your game and release the golfer in you that has been hiding away all of this time.
When you fully grasp the concept of training for golf you will get the opportunity to write a completely different story.
You will become the director of your future golfing performance. Instead of always going to the range to practice, begin to see the golf course as a place to train for the season ahead.
I know this is weather dependent at this time of year, but if you have an hour spare aim to play six holes. You could go out for those six holes with just three clubs and a putter and have some fun creating golf shots.
Experimenting with what you need to do to bend the ball left to right and right to left.
At some point this year during a round you will miss a bunch of greens in regulation. Why not train for that? Play six holes and deliberately miss every green in the best possible location and see what kind of score you can still get the ball around the course in.
Train yourself for the inevitable setbacks the game will throw at you. If you can’t get to the course and the range is the only option then make sure a part of your session is as realistic as possible.
That means one unique shot to one unique location. You can engage your imagination by recreating particular holes on your home course. Get the creative muscles working. The very creative muscles you will need to engage when you do actually get back on the course.
The more you closely replicate the ‘golf course’ environment the more you are actually training for golf as opposed to mindlessly beating balls. You could take this route to get better or you could just stick with what you already know and hope this season is going to be somewhat different than your previous efforts.
But as a wise chap called Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.”