Golf is one of the only sports where your practice conditions are completely different from where you actually play the game. Think about basketball – you practice on the same court where you play the actual game. Baseball is practiced on the exact same field where the game is played. Football is practiced on the same field as the game. The list can go on.

Range Bucket This presents a problem for the common golfer – their practice sessions do not represent the way they actually play the game. A practice range typically has perfectly flat lies with fairway cut grass. What percentage of the shots that an amateur golfer hits are from a flat lie in the fairway? Not that much. A bucket of balls is dropped on the range and a golfer proceeds to hit one after one – again, not the way the game is played.

So here are a few tips to help make your practice sessions more like the way you actually play the game, while improving your game faster:

Practice like you play by simulating conditions of the course. Pretend you are playing a round of golf while on the range. Use only one ball at a time and play each shot with a different club as you would on the course. Start with a driver off the tee and hit each club that you would on each hole. Change your positions to simulate different conditions such as uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies. Don’t forget to do this around the greens too. You may find yourself in many tricky positions while on the course, so practicing them will definitely improve your score.

Keep sharp focus on your target while hitting every shot. Make sure to change targets often and try to hit each one. It’s very easy to get distracted while on the practice tee and hit shots aimlessly out into the range. Focus on your target whether you are hitting full shots, low bump-and-run shots around the green or even bunker shots. This makes you work harder on each shot to make each one more meaningful.

Work on your pre-shot routine before heading to the first tee. This will get you in a good frame of mind before teeing off, plus it’s a vital part of your game. A good pre-shot routine helps to calm your nerves when you get under pressure.

Apply these few tips to your next few practice sessions and watch your scores – and your confidence improve.