How often have you hit shot after shot perfectly on the driving range and then gone to the course only to see your game completely fall apart? How can this happen? How do you take your game from the range to the course?
There is a difference between practicing golf and playing golf. After playing golf for several years, you will come to realize what Percy Boomer said: "Hitting a golf ball is not difficult, nor is walking straight, so long as the penalties for failure are not great".
This means to me that you must be able to 1)manage your game on the course and 2) have the correct mental attitude to play up to your abilities on the course.
1)The Management Game
-general shot pattern
-distance of different clubs
-personal strengths and weaknesses
-playing the percentage shots
-having a gameplan for each hole
2)The Mental Game
-developing a consistent pre-shot routine
-self-trust and self acceptance
-mental toughness- positive self-talk
-ability to handle adversity
-detachment from results/ process goals
In order to improve your ability to play your best on the course, you must learn to become more proficient in the management and mental areas. You do this by "play practicing". This is trying to simulate as close as possible playing conditions when you practice. A certain percentage of your practice must be devoted to playing shots the same way you would on the course. This involves standing behind the ball, picking out a target and going through your entire pre-shot routine. This makes some of your practice time similar to when you get out on the course.
If you "play practice" more often, then the transition from the practice tee to the course will seem much easier. Ben Hogan once said "I've never hit a shot on the course that I hadn't practiced before" and Jack Nicklaus once stated "I've never hit a shot, even in practice that I didn't have a clear picture of first".
The more practice under the pressure of playing conditions you apply, the faster you'll excel on the course.