Friday, December 8, 2023

Here’s why you *shouldn’t* try to duplicate your shots from the range on the course

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Trying to bring your range shots to the course? Don’t, says Top 100 Teacher.

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When recreational players try to get better, it’s common to wish for the game we have on the range to transfer to the course.

On the range, you can often get to a place where you’re relaxed and dialed in, and it’s natural to assume that the confidence you feel while practicing will be able to materialize effortlessly on the course.

Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case, because as we all know, playing a round presents a host of difficulties and obstacles that the range does not. And, according to GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone, the sooner recreational players embrace that reality, the better.

“Staying present and in the moment is so helpful,” Stone said. “Some of the best words of wisdom I’ve received in my teaching career are, ‘Don’t try to be somewhere that you’re not.’ On the course, sometimes people will actively imagine themselves on the driving range to hit the shot that is required of them on the course.

“But all the energy needed to create that vision is taking away from what you’re intending to do. Stay present, stay where you are, and be aware of how you feel.”

woman hitting golf balls on a driving range

These 2 range drills are a perfect pre-round warm-up


Jessica Marksbury

Sarah Stone, Top 100 Teacher

Stone said that part of a player’s maturation involves embracing their emotions, and learning to overcome them.

“Being nervous is okay,” Stone said. “Don’t focus on trying not to be nervous and how to do that. ‘I hope I don’t hit it in the pond.’ Instead of being nervous about a potential reality, think about what’s actually happening in the present: You’re playing golf. You’re hitting shots, finding the ball and doing it again.”

Creating a consistent routine can ease of lot of this anxiety, Stone says. To help yourself stay in the present, Stone recommends creating a few steps to follow before each shot, from picking your target and aligning your clubface to looking one last time at the flag.

“I use an action word at the end, like ‘execute’ or ‘go’ or ‘nail it,’” she said. “And that puts me right into a very present state of mind. And it works for all levels of players.”

For more tips from Stone, click here.

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As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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