It's a simple concept, but the fact is, the key to playing better golf may be in better practice.

I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who go to the driving range and hammer away at a bucket of balls, ball after ball after ball after ball,  like it is their #1 mission in life, and in the process seem to give little thought to what they are doing.

Let me explain. Hitting a bucket of balls is not like playing a round of golf, as obvious as that sounds. But, if you make it more like an actuall round of golf, that practice session can actually do you as much good as playing nine holes.

(Zane Mathews)

For starters, the tempo at which balls are hit at the range is typically much quicker than it is out on the course. When you play a round, there is time between shots that transpires as you traverse to your ball after each shot. This gives you a little time to relax, gather yourself, maybe put a bad shot behind you, and think about the shot you have coming up and what your strategy is going to be.

At the range, people tend to throw down ball after ball at a completely unrealistic pace - and then wonder why they aren't hitting consistent shots off the practice tee.

My suggestion is that you approach  your bucket of balls as you would an actual round of golf. In other words, imagine yourself at  your regular golf course of choice, one that you are familiar with, and instead of hitting shot after shot with the same club, hit each shot with a different club.

(Zane Mathews)

Imagine yourself, for example, on the first tee at Tiara Rado, and have that picture in your mind as you hit your first shot at the range with a driver. If you typically use a 7-iron for your second shot on that hole, make that your second shot from your bucket. Then, maybe a pitching wedge.

In your mind, move on to hole #2. Driver, three wood, pitching wedge. Then to #3, a five wood off the tee, etc, and continue on through the entire front nine. But, be sure and take your time and relax between each shot --just as you would out on the course. Take time to visualize the layout of the hole as you would on the course, rather that just focusing on yardage markers stacked out in the distance on the range.

After playing several 'holes' out of your bucket, if you are having trouble with a particular club, go ahead and take some time to concentrate on that one club, but do it at the same slower pace as the 'holes' you were playing.

I've seen this suggested previously, and it's a strategy that has worked for me.It has caused my visits to the range to be much more productive and successful. The consequence, of which, is leaving the range with confidence and positive thoughts, rather than doubt and discouragement. A better practice session could be your key to playing better golf.