Practice: Teeing Up Twice

Practice Makes Perfect: Teeing Up Twice

I play a lot of golf. Living in Scottsdale, Arizona I can play every day… even on Christmas. Granted, I’ve only been in Arizona for a few months, but I hope to play on both Thanksgiving and on Christmas this year. With 330 days of sunshine a year, this is a great place to be an avid golfer. I play a lot more than I practice. I used to like beating balls on the range, but the older I get, the more I enjoy playing. Most courses in Arizona have free range balls, so I will hit a few before teeing off. I actually like to get to the course an hour before my tee time. I will hit balls, work on my short game (if a practice chipping green is available) and putt for a little bit trying to get a feel for the greens. Then, if time allows, I’ll stretch and make sure I am ready for the first tee.

Because I play more than I practice, I have to trust my swing on the golf course. Lately I’ve been hitting a 10-15 yard fade, and while that’s fine with my irons, I would rather draw the ball off the tee. Over the last few rounds I have started to trust it, and that paid off. I shot 74 at TPC Scottsdale a few weeks ago. That was with a double on 18. I actually made double bogey on 9, too. Due to my busy work schedule, I usually only get to play once or twice on the weekends. It’s also expensive to play in Arizona, so I have to spread my rounds thin and end up playing a lot of municipal courses. I don’t care where I play… as long as I’m playing.

Since moving to Arizona, I’ve made a few golf buddies. We play quite a bit and tend to play nicer tracks, usually on Saturday mornings. When playing with them, I try to play by USGA rules and play ready golf not to keep people waiting. This all comes full circle here… regarding my time spent on the range beating balls. That is where Greg Norman comes in. Norman, former PGA TOUR player, has an interesting idea… play two balls when playing by yourself. Granted, you can’t count both rounds toward your handicap, but that is a great way to work on the same shots throughout the round.

I’ve not done this yet, but I see a lot of value here. For example, when I was playing TPC, I topped my drive on the first tee. I actually used a three wood from the tee, but it was a horrible shot that left me barely in the right rough. I managed to hit the green and lipped out for birdie, but the tee shot is the focus of this exercise. If I had the freedom to hit two balls, and play them both, I could see multiple angles into this green. This would be vital if I was playing a tournament at the respective course as it would help me learn the golf course. It would also serve as a mulligan if my first shot wasn’t the best.

The more I think about this technique, the more I want to try it. I would love to tee up two balls, and play 18 holes with both producing two scores at the end of the day. That would also give me a way to compare shots and to compare my thought process as I approach each shot. There were a couple of holes at TPC I would love to play again. I only wonder if playing two balls would affect the overall score of the first ball due to fatigue. Anyway, I might try this sometime… I would just have to remember to mark my balls so I knew what score I should card for each hole.

Organized Play

I have been talking to, via email, the head professional at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix. I did a lot of work on their website, and have shown interest in setting up a tournament at the course. I have recommended back tee events, forward tee events, and even a toughest pin event. Imagine playing 18 holes with the toughest pin location on each hole. That would produce high numbers, but all the while that being the point of the event.

Maybe I will suggest an event where two player teams ply two balls each. Just thinking off the top of my head, maybe you take the lowest round from each teach, and then play a scramble format with all four balls. Who knows… I’m just thinking out loud here. I hope to meet with the head professional soon, and will suggest all of these ideas to him then. Since I am not currently doing the presents six bands for six bucks anymore, this might be a good transition into event playing in the Valley.

The next time you play 18 holes, think about that… maybe throw down two golf balls and see what happens. I would still record both rounds, and track fairways, greens, and putts with each ball… But I’m curious to see my thought pattern knowing I am hitting two balls.

Golf is supposed to be fun. Hitting two balls might seem like playing 36 holes in one day, but it might produce new polished practice habits for you and your game. Give it a try… It can’t hurt. And it sounds like fun!