Lesson Eight - Practice

It always seemed important to understand what Arnold was up to when he wrote that sometimes he began preparing for the tournament a week in advance. There was more to this than hitting balls, good diet, or plenty of sleep. It makes sense that he worked at getting familiar and focused regarding his game strategy. In the bigger sense and the smaller sense, he most likely was gathering thought and focusing closer on what was important to do to play his best. This man had a Strategy and it would seem that it had a lot to do with getting comfortable, confident, and serious about what was unfolding to him about the play he would enjoy at the tournament.

Practice is required for every phase of the game. Working these many 'phases' builds the golfing character needed for "touch" shots in a "touch" game. Besides the hours and hours of 'mechanical' practice there are other ways to improve. Golf is making the game be more than plain mechanics. The more purpose, guidance, and enjoyment about golf in general that is connected to mechanical practice, the more productive such practice can be for the game and the score. Just as much thought must be applied to game management and development as there is with the swing mechanics. There seems to be a hand in hand relationship here.

The work involved at the practice range has a strategy as well to help the player character and performance. Hitting balls at the practice range is good for learning to stay focused mentally and emotionally, and for becoming more sensitive to when something is getting out of place, or starting to go wrong. Practicing all phases of mechanics is also good to help teach the player different "phases" of pertinent character traits. The softest touch of the putt, or strong full swings for little "pop-ups", shooting out of water and the like, all have different feels to become part of the players' awareness and playing mode. Ultimately, practice needs to help the golfer play very relaxed and learn to soak up the round, and play along with the round, as it unfolds shot to shot.

If 'nature' is one of the player's loves, it may help the 'scoring' for this player to practice being more perceptive of it in the hole and the walk to the ball. If disciplined thinking is good exercise for the player, work to keep the ball and its position in mind more of the time between shots. If the golf course is a strong love for the player, collect up some liter, fix more divots, rake a trap, or throw pebbles off the green. Do the things that best compose the strategy for involvement in the shot and in the hole. With practice, these actions become normal or routine behavior and the character moves on to a clearer sense of other management variables.



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