A difficult week balancing work commitments, family time and practice - C'est la via for the amateur golfer. If I'm honest the practice was a token hour at best, a last ditch attempt to rekindle some kind of form before Saturday and an outing to the Las Vegas Country Club.
It was here that two great golfers and even better friends both introduced me to a hidden secret - "there's only so much you can achieve on the range". And it's true. In other sports pundits would likely use an analogous reference such as the difference between being fit and match fit. The same can be said of golf, especially when it comes to psychology.
It was commented that (perhaps) I play so well during practice sessions as there is no real danger or consequence of a poor shot. The same can't be said when flanked by hazards and a very real threat of scorecard implosion exists with each swing. In short - real golf requires mental strength not required on the practice area and a strength only found through experience.
Looking back I played quite well for the first 10 holes with a healthy smattering of pars. Some unusually good drives and a new sense of confidence on the greens led to me appearing like I belonged in the group. I won't lie, it felt great.
Talking with the guys the firm advice was to ensure that practice at the range is supported with maintaining comfort from tee-to-green. Hitting 50 out of a bucket, whilst assisting in muscle memory and range of movement, won't develop the mental game of shot selection, course management and most importantly mental strength.
Ryan, Yohan - once again sage advice. Thank you.
In other news I have a new putter but that's for tomorrow.....