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What is the ideal way to play a practice round?


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#1 CTgolf

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:33 AM

What do you do in preparation for a tournament during a practice round?

What are you focused and what are some musts?  What do you avoid (if anything)?

Please discuss.


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#2 tiger1873

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:58 AM

The big things we do is go out and note where the trouble is on the course, carry distances and where it needs to land off the tee and what club to use and anything else we thing we need. I think most people figure this stuff out and is pretty much common sense.

When we do practice rounds the primary reason is to get comfortable with the course.  Don't over plan everything because at some point a bad shot is going to happen. This is  especially true if you can't caddy for them.  The last thing you want is something to go wrong and they panic during the tournament.

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#3 heavy_hitter

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:20 AM

You play the course to get familiar with it.  All the planning should be done before you show up to know where the trouble is.  In college you map out the course before you show up.  That way you can just play.

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#4 tiger1873

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:04 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 09 August 2018 - 08:20 AM, said:

You play the course to get familiar with it.  All the planning should be done before you show up to know where the trouble is.  In college you map out the course before you show up.  That way you can just play.

I agree with this that you should do as much homework before you show up. The only issue is most of us are not playing college level tournaments so that means in a lot cases the information out there is either old or outdated.  The only way to find trouble on those courses is play the course and take notes

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#5 hangontight

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:09 AM

For us its just getting comfortable with course, how greens hold approaches, etc.  Other than that, only a few things I pay specific attention to:

- Par 5's.  Find the ideal layup spot for approach (if not going for it in 2), plan backward to tee from there.  
- Par 3's.  Get clubs to front, middle, back.  Really pay attention to how the shots hold (or dont) the green.  
-  Make notes of any absolute trouble spots to avoid (i.e. - dont , under any circumstance go over the 5th green) or severe sloping greens where you dont want to be above hole.

As far as play, still not sure best approach.  Taking some previous advice from this forum, the last few tournaments we have not kept score.  Mostly , we've played one ball through and only hitting multiple into par 3's (see above), chipping around a few greens, hit a few bunkers on one hole, etc.  Not keeping score seems to be good for not setting an expectation.


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#6 jmiller2

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:11 AM

I do some research about the course before the practice round if I have never seen the course (course website, google earth, etc).
~ The golf course website sometimes has a "course tour" or at very least a scorecard.
~ When using Google Earth, make sure to take off the automatic tilt as you zoom into a hole so that you are looking perfectly down at the hole itself from a sky view.
>> Google Earth you have a "ruler" tool that will measure in yards so that you can see if the ground is flat how far things are from the center of a tee box.

When I get to the course for the practice round, I have a general idea what clubs to hit off the tee (carry distances / total distance).
~ I find a target line off the tee box knowing my typical shot shape, I pick a line to eliminate one half of the golf course (left = fade, right = draw).
>> I tend to move towards the left tee marker when hitting a draw or move towards the right tee marker when hitting a fade to give myself more fairway to play into as the shot curves.

After the tee shot my thinking is going to be more dynamic based on the situation where the ball went off the tee.
~ If I'm sitting in a good location then I'm thinking about pin location as "green light", "yellow light" or "red light".
~ If I'm not in a good position, then I adjust my decision making for my shot to eliminate double bogey or worse.
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.” ~ Bobby Jones
“A good player who is a great putter is a match for any golfer. A great hitter who cannot putt is a match for no one.” ~ Ben Sayers

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#7 leezer99

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:58 AM

Hit putts from the center of the green to the "four corners" where they are most likely to put the pins so that you have a general idea of the break on each hole.

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#8 heavy_hitter

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 04:43 PM

View Posttiger1873, on 09 August 2018 - 09:04 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 09 August 2018 - 08:20 AM, said:

You play the course to get familiar with it.  All the planning should be done before you show up to know where the trouble is.  In college you map out the course before you show up.  That way you can just play.

I agree with this that you should do as much homework before you show up. The only issue is most of us are not playing college level tournaments so that means in a lot cases the information out there is either old or outdated.  The only way to find trouble on those courses is play the course and take notes

They us google maps and blue golf as their primary resources.

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#9 kekoa

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 03:44 PM

I note the distance in to the greens and the club hit as well as green terrain if applicable.  If we have time, he hits putts to different areas of the green where possible pins might be.

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#10 heavy_hitter

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 04:35 PM

View Postkekoa, on 10 August 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

I note the distance in to the greens and the club hit as well as green terrain if applicable.  If we have time, he hits putts to different areas of the green where possible pins might be.

Not saying you are right are wrong.  My daughters college coach says this is the biggest waste of time in golf.  Told them she cringes when watching AJGA practice rounds and girls do this.  They get nothing out of it according to her.  Might be a hole or two on a course where the green is layered, other than that it is a wast of time.


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#11 kekoa

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 04:44 PM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 10 August 2018 - 04:35 PM, said:

View Postkekoa, on 10 August 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

I note the distance in to the greens and the club hit as well as green terrain if applicable.  If we have time, he hits putts to different areas of the green where possible pins might be.

Not saying you are right are wrong.  My daughters college coach says this is the biggest waste of time in golf.  Told them she cringes when watching AJGA practice rounds and girls do this.  They get nothing out of it according to her.  Might be a hole or two on a course where the green is layered, other than that it is a wast of time.

Putting to other areas of the green?  Well, some tournaments (multi day) we play have red marks on the greens where pins will be for following days.  Not a waste of time if you ask me.  Its not like we sit there and hold other groups up.

If we are talking a 1 day tournament then like I said, we just play the course.

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#12 tiger1873

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:06 PM

View Postkekoa, on 10 August 2018 - 04:44 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 10 August 2018 - 04:35 PM, said:

View Postkekoa, on 10 August 2018 - 03:44 PM, said:

I note the distance in to the greens and the club hit as well as green terrain if applicable.  If we have time, he hits putts to different areas of the green where possible pins might be.

Not saying you are right are wrong.  My daughters college coach says this is the biggest waste of time in golf.  Told them she cringes when watching AJGA practice rounds and girls do this.  They get nothing out of it according to her.  Might be a hole or two on a course where the green is layered, other than that it is a wast of time.

Putting to other areas of the green?  Well, some tournaments (multi day) we play have red marks on the greens where pins will be for following days.  Not a waste of time if you ask me.  Its not like we sit there and hold other groups up.

If we are talking a 1 day tournament then like I said, we just play the course.

I would tend to agree that if your a decent putter it is a waste of time putting to other areas of the green. You just really need to worry about where not to land your ball. At college level I would think they know how to lag putt so they donít do many 3 putts.

I think if you talking about younger kids which I believe Kekoa is talking about it may actually help because they have a much harder time putting.

Edited by tiger1873, 10 August 2018 - 05:10 PM.


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#13 hangontight

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:48 PM

Ime with HH on this one.  At Worlds this year, they had all three days marked with spray paint dots on green. The friends we practiced with spent WAY too much time on EACH green putting to these specific dots.  No way the kid is going to remember the break on each one of these locations from each direction.  While they did that we rotated work around greens-  We would chip a few on to the green on one hole, hit a few bunker shots the next hole , maybe hit a few wedges to the next tee box for fun, putt some on another, and skip the next for a snack water break  and a few jokes.   With my son at least, too much specific direction on practice rounds does the opposite of the comfort level we are ultimately trying to achieve.  If he hits a great shot, pick up and move on with that good feeling instead of forcing 2 more. Want him to walk off the last hole on practice round feeling fresh and confident, not worn out from hitting 150 shots on the day.  Again, just what works for him, everyone has their own system.

Edited by hangontight, 10 August 2018 - 05:49 PM.


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#14 iteachgolf

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:43 PM

I can tell you that every player on tour putts to where they know or where they think the hole locations are going to be and takes notes in their yardage books. Iím not saying young kids should do it, but it certainly isnít a waste of time

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#15 _conejunkie

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 10:16 PM

I use Google Earth and the ruler feature to identify trouble spots and to get "familiar" with the course before the practice round.

During the practice round I have the kids feel out what it would feel like to play from the fairway rough, how thick or thin it is and how it might react. Nothing special for fairway shots. Around the greens in the rough, same as concept as in the fairway rough just to feel it out.

If it allows, I have them play gruesome (worst ball) for three reasons:

- to get into the habit of having to hit consecutive, quality shots
- to put them into actual situations where they would have to hit out of trouble
- to get comfortable in recovering from trouble

The goal is to get comfortable with the course in both good and bad lies.

Putting is putting; key is to figure out potential speeds and to get familiar with the highest risk layouts such as tiers or slopes.


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#16 darter79

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 08:49 AM

For practice rounds I treat it like practice. We will hit a few balls off the tee normally different clubs, on approach same thing. Depending if the green is tricky or not might put to different areas or hit the putt a few times if she misses. The point of practice rounds is to practice on the course get comfortable with it. At worlds this year we did three. Did two hitting various shots around and did a final one for score. I think it depends on the kid and what they need on how to approach practice rounds. I think at the end of the day the goal is to get as comfortable as possible with the course.

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