Monday, April 24, 2006

Playing versus practice

I had an enlightening experience the other day. I went to my favorite practice course (Scholl Canyon in Glendale, CA) with my usual intention to play 9 holes and try all kinds of different shots on the course, i.e., practice. I wasn't going to worry about my score, but then I decided to chuck the idea of practice and really try to get a score. Now, I'm not here to say to say I shot the lights out; no, I did what I usually do--hit it loose on the front, tighten it up on the back. But what did happen was that I was able to concentrate on each shot and not worry about my score or technique or any of the little niggling things that distract and keep me from playing well. I also experienced that strange yet common golf experience of remembering the correct techniques for certain shots--you know, you figure out a technique and say to yourself, "Wait a minute, I taught myself this last summer. Man, get with the program!" I think most golfers remain "average" because they can't improve their skills--or even maintain--due to lack of practice time. Ever notice how really good golfers always seem to have come from country-club- member parents? The club provided the young golfer the hours-upon-hours of practice time needed to learn and re-learn skills--a process we average Joes string out over decades.

One way to optimize practice is to make sure you're relaxed while you're doing it. Unexpectedly, I learned something from my ongoing guitar learning experience that applies to golf. I found a guitar teacher on the web whose system of practice applies perfectly to golf. Check out this here. I'm sure this guy's lessons (or girl--is "Jaime" male of female?) can be applied to everything from guitar to golf to painting to yoga.

[Note: there's a link the guitar man's site to the left]

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