How To Deal With The Ups & Downs of Golf Practice & Play

This article is the result of a question we had from one of our users. We have a great range of golfers using Break X Golf (beginners to pros and everyone in between) and many are making great progress. However, the road to better golf is bumpy and can be a lonely path. So I’ve put together this article to help share what this journey looks like when a golfer is on a great trajectory towards better golf. I hope you find it useful.

Here is the original question we had from a user:

How would you recommend I (and other users) relate to their results on a weekly basis? When playing skills games, I sometimes find myself getting too focused on the results. I imagine you would encourage me to reframe it and focus more on process and let the results be what they are with the idea that they will trend towards improvement over time.”

This fine golfer has a great question, and has actually answered their own question very well too. But to help you picture what great practice and play looks like let’s look at an example player using Break X Golf.

We’ll cover their on course trends, practice trends and then summarise this article with how to deal with your own playing and practice trends.

Elite golf performance – playing stats

Below is a graphic of every competition from this professional golfer over the past 18 months. This golfer has made incredible progress, improving by 1.5 to 2 shots on average over that time period. This is a serious jump at a professional level (over a 4 round tournament that equates to a 6 to 8 shot average improvement).

Based on his playing stats, and scoring, he is now good enough to compete on the PGA Tour – he now just needs to complete the incredibly tough task of making it onto Tour via Q School or the Korn Ferry Tour.

A charting showing scoring average to par over an 18-month period.

We are talking one of the most elite and consistent performers on the planet, but look at the variance in his scores over time above. At one point he shoots -2, -5 and follows this with a round of +10. We all know golf can be frustrating and one of the reasons is just this – the variance between good and bad days is greater than any other sport in the world.

The take away message is that even when you become an elite golfer, you will never reach the level of consistency many golfers wish to achieve. Keep trying to shoot low scores, do your best to manage your golf on days where it feels like your golf game has left you and give yourself credit when your scores are trending in the right direction over time.

How does Break X Golf help with this challenge?

The pro in question says the following:

“One of the things I love about Break X Golf is that it stops me making emotional decisions about what to practice. I have a plan to follow each week and try to stick to that for 4 weeks before I re-enter my stats and re-assess where I need to focus.”

Practice stats variability

Over the last three events (12 rounds of golf) this golfer is gaining 0.08 shots on the PGA Tour average. He is driving better than the average player on tour, averaging over 61% of shots in play with a driving distance of 293 yards.

In Break X Golf he uses a combination of the games in the skills library and some custom challenges that he created for his home practice facilities. One of the skills games he’s been using recently is the 20 ball driving challenge (L4).

The aim in this game is to see how many times you can hit a 10-yard wide fairway. You have 20 shots (10 with driver, 5 with a fairway wood and 5 with hybrid or long-iron).

Below is a snapshot of his scores, you can see recent scores have range from 5, up to 10 and then a 7 and a 6. Despite this variance in scores, his driving has remained solid on the golf course.

A Break X Golf chart showing scores in a Driving skills games over time.

This typifies one of the issues we see in all skills games. The scoring element gives you motivation and focus, but they don’t always match how you play. Your variance in skills games will be very similar to your scoring variance we saw above, it can be very up and down over a period of attempts, even when your skill level is trending in the right direction.

Does this mean you shouldn’t focus on skills games scores?

The correct answer is yes and no.

We want you to perform better and shoot lower scores on the golf course. The skills games give you targeted practice that relates to your scoring. Performing better in skills games over time shows that you are on track, but just like scoring variances, there will be many ups and downs in scores.

The real goal is to complete skill games with effort and intensity regardless of if you are on for a Personal Best (PB) or struggling.

It doesn’t actually matter if you shoot your best or worse ever score in a skills game, as long as you are reflecting on your performance and trying to learn how to perform at a higher level. You can read more about these hidden practice skills here.

Take away lessons for your practice & play

This case study won’t make it any more fun to shoot bad scores in practice and play. However, I hope it shows you that the ups and downs of scoring on and off the golf course are all part of the process as you journey your way to your golfing goals.

You’ll also notice that the magical consistency many golfers are after doesn’t exist even at an elite level. Instead, your highs and lows gradually trend in the right direction as you become a better golfer.

Your practice takeaway should be to enjoy the days where you are on for setting PBs, and try to enjoy the tough days as you learn to grind out the best scores you can in practice. These days grinding in practice are super helpful in developing your skill at playing golf.

Aim for the the best skills game scores you can, but the real goal is to invest effort and focus into developing the golfing skills that will directly improve your scores on the golf course. This is the core of what Break X Golf does in creating a you a practice plan around these areas with a balance of technical work, skill development and on-course skills games.

Over the coming months we’re working on how we can tweak Break X Golf to improve the feedback and motivation it offers us during practice. It’s a super tough, but fun problem to work on, we’ll be in touch soon.

Sign up for Break X Golf

Happy golfing – Will @ Break X Golf

Leave a comment