In part II, I will discuss my way of practicing up for the Mid-Am qualifier.
First, I only practice after work. I will be taking Friday off, which is when I will play the practice round. I’ve played this course 3 times before, shooting 68, 74 and 77.
Here’s a video of a swing I took last week.
I’m going to try something a bit different in that I’m not going to use video during practice the week before the tournament. I was also planning to get on Trackman this weekend, but I decided I can wait on that as well. The reason being is that I want to limit my swing thoughts for the qualifier and keep my confidence and trust levels up instead of second guessing things.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s times to use the camera. And if I were on a weekly tournament schedule, I would be using the camera more often to keep things in check. But, since I’m hitting it pretty decent and I cannot make substantial improvements in a short time, I’ll work on just trying to groove the swing that I have at the moment.
I do not plan on doing any putting practice up until the weekend. In my opinion, it does me little good to putt on different greens and I should reserve the practice for the weekend when I go to the Shingle Creek practice green to putt around.
I am now a firm believer that delivery speed of the putt which determines the capture width of the cup is what matters most in putting. Hopefully, I can continually maximize the capture width of the cup (or come close) as often as possible.
Thus, the overwhelming majority of my time will be spent focusing on the range along with playing a couple of holes each night until Friday, where I will play a practice round at Shingle Creek. I’ve got a few things I’m going to try.
LONGEST IRON IN THE BAG PRACTICE
Not only do I believe in understanding how to play the Danger Zone, but I also believe in practicing the clubs you use in the Danger Zone. My longest iron in the bag is my 3-iron. After initial warmup, most of the range time will be spent hitting this club or the 4-iron.
Not only do I feel it helps to practice with these clubs when I use them out on the course, but I firmly believe if a golfer can hit a 3-iron well, they can hit the other clubs shorter than that very well.
I like to practice this on the range quite a bit. Here I will simulate the course on the range. For instance, I will tee off on the 10th hole for the qualifier. The 10th hole is about a driver-sand wedge for me. Thus, I try to visualize what the tee shot looks like and hit the tee shot. Then if it’s a good tee shot, I’ll hit a SW. This all on the range.
Then I will move onto #11. If I hit a poor tee shot, I may take out my 7-iron and envision hitting a low punch under some trees. Then move onto the 12th hole where I envision the tee shot and then hitting the 2nd shot with my 3-wood. And so on and so forth.
By the time I’m done with this, it feels like I’ve been a member at the course I’ve simulated.
DRIVER & 3-WOOD
In the practice round, I would like to hit 2 balls off the tee on each hole, mainly with the driver and the 3-wood. The goals are simple.
1) Find the spot to aim at and the spot on the tee to tee the ball up until you get something that ‘fits your eye.’
2) Hit the 3-wood for practice and to understand how to play the hole if you hit a poor or weak tee shot.
With tournaments it’s easy to get your cage rattled a bit. Thus, if you can figure out how to rattle your cage in the practice round, it won’t be such a shock to the system when you are playing the actual tournament.
The other practice will be mostly practice round stuff. Hitting potentially difficult shots. Get a good feel for the sand. Figuring out where the hardest up and downs are from and practicing them. Finding difficult pin locations and how those putts break. Finding the low and high anchor putts on the green.
The itinerary will be to practice after work until Friday where I will get a practice round, practice putting afterward, get some play in at my home course on Saturday and then get some more practice at Shingle Creek and then follow up on Sunday to get some practice at Shingle Creek.
Since I will be teeing off at 8am, I will have to come up with a pre-round practice that will make me feel comfortable, but will give me plenty of time before I tee off.
UP NEXT, PART III – MENTAL GAME