When is the right time to practice, and when is the right time to play? I get asked this question quite often, and my answer takes me back to a rule I lived by when I was younger.
Growing up in southern New Mexico, I experienced every weather condition imaginable. One day might be sunny and perfect, while the next could offer a dust storm coming directly at me across the Mesilla Valley. These changing conditions kept golf more interesting, and it kept my practice routine from becoming monotonous. My rule was this…when the weather was nice, I spent most of my time fine tuning my skills on the practice range and putting green. However, when the weather conditions worsened, I spent most of my time on the golf course. I believe that most of you would benefit by practicing the same rule.
When you spend time on the practice range and putting green, you ought to be working on developing proper fundamentals. I always feel that it is a good idea to develop your skills in perfect conditions. By improving your fundamentals, you will be much more likely to successfully adapt to poorer conditions. On the other hand, playing golf in poor weather conditions allows for you to develop an instinct for how to play the game. You are likely to focus less on making a ‘perfect swing’, and instead, you should focus on staying patient and not letting the conditions frustrate you.
Living in Santa Clarita, we are pretty spoiled with the weather. However, this time of year we can get a little bit of everything. On those occasions when the conditions are poor, take advantage of the opportunity to go out and play on the course. Not only will you have fewer players around you on the course, but you will develop a stronger instinct for how to play the game better. Challenge yourself to make smart decisions and to stay patient. On the other hand, when conditions are good, spend more time on the practice range and putting green. I assure you, your fundamentals will become much stronger this way.
Until next time, continue to enjoy this amazing game!