Screen Golf

By Chris Foley

Over the course of the golf season, each month in this column we will be sharing ideas to help improve your golf game without changing your golf swing. We will talk about things like efficient practice methods, equipment, course management and new technology. By implementing our advice each month, you will see improvement in your game and lower scores.

Over the past 10 years, golf simulators or “screen golf” has improved dramatically. As launch monitor technology and club and ball capture methods have gotten better, simulator golf has become much more realistic. More and more courses have come on line and the ways to practice on simulators has expanded.

Proof of their validity is that PGA Tour players such as Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Brent Snedeker, Matt Kutcher, and Jim Furyk to name a few have all installed simulators in their home’s.

With the golf season only six to eight weeks away (hopefully!) by playing and practicing in a simulator you can start the spring out playing great golf.

Here are some suggestions to help you get ready for the season.

  • Learn your yardages – Most simulators will give you both your carry yardages and total yardages. Most people don’t have realistic expectations of what their true yardages are and having a better understanding of your true average yardages will allow you to hit more greens. If you hit more greens, you will shoot lower scores.
  • Learn your shot dispersions – Over the course of a couple of weeks, hit 50+ shots with each club. Eliminate the worst 10% of your shots. If you were to plot all the shots with each club, you will have a scatter pattern that is generally oval in shape and tilted (for a right-handed player) to the left. The shorter shots are the right of the center of the pattern and the longer shots are to the left of the center of the target. Most people, based on your skill level, will have a range front to back of this pattern of 10-20 yards and 15-25 yards left to right. Use these patterns to help you aim away from hazards and hit more fairways and greens.
  • Develop an effective pre-shot routine – One of the fun practice tools on most simulators is that you can hit multiple shots from wherever you want on the course. For instance, position a 100-yard approach shot that you have to hit over water to land on the green. Hit shots working on a pre-shot routine that trains you to redirect the negative thoughts or fear of hitting the ball in the water. After hitting each shot evaluate how well you maintained the positive thinking of your pre-shot routine.
  • Practice with pressure – As in the above exercise, hit tee shots on a golf hole. Set a goal such as 7 out of ten balls hitting the fairway. If the goal is met, move to a different exercise. If you hit less than your goal, evaluate why and repeat.

Besides the above practice ideas, playing screen golf in above all FUN! It is just another way to enjoy our great game until you can get out on the course in the spring!