As tournaments approach, one of my preferences as a coach is to significantly reduce the amount of emphasis that is placed on technical practice and increase the time spent on creating shots where and when they are required.
Over the last 12 months I have been using the "Upgame" app with a number of students to measure their statistics. However, one of the most useful aspects is the Course Planner which can be found on the IPad Version of the app. The course planner essentially acts as a GPS unit similar to what you might find on a golf cart, and allows us to plot our way around any course in the world using what we would deem to be our own personal distances and shot choices.
This feature is a game changer as far as preparation is concerned. We can not only begin to plan our strategy before ever seeing the golf course, but we can even practice the yardages that we are most likely to face in the tournament.
During a recent session with a European Tour player , we decided to incorperate this information into his final preparation for the upcoming event in Doha. The purpose of this session was to purposefully test his ability to create his desired shots from the tee, figure out his most common approach yardages and above all else...... SCORE!
To begin we took his average driving distance and used it to plot where he should drive the ball on each hole. Assuming the driver looked like the right choice from the tee, we would then calculate what distance remained for the approach shot. Once we had these distances plotted for every hole on the golf course we were ready to start.
Our first step was to choose our fairway for the opening tee shot, and set Trackman up in order to measure the distance of each shot. Once the shot is played we can then calculate how far the remaining approach would be to the green. In addition to that if he missed the fairway we would alter the lie based on what type of next shot he would be likely to have (Rough, Sand etc).
From there we would choose an appropriate target using a range finder and then adjusting Trackman accordingly to suit the target. Based on the result of the shot we would make a decision to putt or chip for our next shot. If we felt that the ball may have missed in a bunker, then that option is also available to us. We would then move to the chipping or putting green and complete the hole from where we believe the approach would have finished.
We repeated this process for a full 18 holes of the course, marking our score as we went along and altering each shot based on the result of the previous one. While this type of practice will never fully replicate a tournament round or even a practice round for that matter, it does provide far more context and realism to practice rather than beating a mountain of golf balls onto an open range.
If you do not have a Trackman or similar Launch Monitor available then you can simply use a range finder, or estimate distances to the best of your ability. The main goal of this game is to get into the mindset of PLAY & PERFORM!