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Adapt practice session


Learning to transfer your game to the course and adapt to the variables that come with it


In technical and calibrate sessions you have formed a basic recipe for the game areas in question, probably in a more controlled environment (i.e. range or putting green). An adapt session introduces some of the variables you might face in a normal round of golf, like different slopes, lies and targets.


Unless you are the kind of golfer who performs better on the course, accept that the success rate may be lower. More adaptation, hazards and less attempts, make this a harder task than a range environment. Tailor your expectations accordingly.


Planning and preparation

For your improved skill level to be course-ready, it is essential that you use a session like this to practice planning and prep. This means paying attention to how the ball is lying, the slope, the wind etc. These elements will give an idea of what is possible and with the shot, prior to deciding what shot to play.

Golfers commonly fail on the course because they ignore some of these cues, and go straight into range mode. A failure to notice, say, the ball is lying down a little, could lead to no adjustment and a thinned strike.

Before committing to a shot, two questions your planning and prep needs to answer are:

  1. What would it look like if it worked?

  2. Would this (practice swing) do the job?

Pre-shot routine

Given the above, it makes sense to employ a full pre-shot routine as we want planning and prep to be intertwined with execution when we play for real.

Task progression

Because learning is contextual, initially just being on the course is often enough to challenge your ability to reproduce the skill you learnt on the range or putting green.

Create scenarios

However, if your game feels comfortable on the course and have seen a few successes, you can actively seek out different scenarios like poor lies, ball above feet or wind direction gives you a plethora of situations to adapt to.


Find a quiet time or hole on the course

Play a main ball, following full pre-shot routine

Use a second ball to attempt additional, challenging shots

Engage with any elements of the shot that require adjustment

What would it look like if it worked? Would the (rehearsal) do the job?

Reflection, another attempt if unsuccessful


Brain tips

Adapting starts with being externally focused on the lie and terrain so you observe any information relevant to forming a plan. This will help form clear intention on even the more challenging shots which require adjustment from a regular shot.

A growth mindset flips your response to finding your ball in a tricky spot. Rather than being annoyed or fearful, it becomes an opportunity to problem-solve, stretch your skills. If you don't figure it out first time, put it on the list of skills to acquire.

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