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How to Use Golf Variety to Maintain Interest

The 10th Secret

When the same muscles are used continuously in the same fashion, fatigue results. With fatigue there comes a loss of interest. This creates more fatigue. The same is also true if the same thought pattern is continuously repeated. If we vary our physical and psychological approach to the game, interest can be maintained at a high pitch.
Hogan states that after he had reached the point in his practice at which he could hit straight shots with regularity, he introduced variety to maintain his interest. He would hit one shot to the left of the caddy, drop one short, lob one just over his head, fade one, hook one, etc. There are also other ways of achieving variety, such as hitting shots of the same length with different clubs.
Variety can be introduced by playing strange courses or by playing with a different golf group. Experimenting with problem shots is often an interesting diversion. These could be short trap shots, high trap shots, shots from the rough, shots with a restricted backswing, low running shots to the green, and others. I have often practiced shots that I feared. This is a good method of developing confidence.
Occasionally, variety can be added by practicing with someone else. Stimulation can come from competing against a friend either in a putting contest or in tests of accuracy with other clubs.
One of the additional advantages that accrues from this type of practice is that you can obtain a fairly objective measure of your improvement or skill.
I have practiced competitive wedge shots against friends and found that a relative superiority in this field made it foolish for me to emphasize it in practice. It highlighted the fact that the reason my friend and I were equal in scoring was my relative deficiency in hitting greens with long irons, and his in hitting with short ones. I then practiced to pull level with him on the longer irons, slacking off on wedge practice, and the improvement was reflected in the scores.
On another occasion, a friend and I had a long putt contest. We each putted five balls, marking the pattern of shots. His pattern was so superior to mine that I adopted his method, with much more success.On still another occasion, in a chipping contest, we used radically different methods but achieved the same good results. This kept both of us from investing time in experimenting with the other's method when it was probable that little would be gained.
Generally, however, it is not a good idea to plan to practice with others. It is hard enough to get one's own person to the practice tee. In addition, you may acquire the habit of wanting to practice with someone else. The difficulties that crop up in such an arrangement will cause a decline of interest. It is better to have the habit of enjoying solitary practice. Still and all, occasional joint practice adds variety and provides for a healthy exchange of information.
Experimentation of any kind is conducive to increasing interest. This experimentation can be done on the spur of the moment while on the practice tee. Experimentation can also be done in advance. If you develop certain ideas about a stroke, you can try them out in your mind first. Thinking about one's method of play can very easily eliminate mistakes before you get to the golf course. This has happened to me. For a long time I had difficulty controlling recovery shots when I had a very steep lie on the side of a bunker or trap near the green. My wedge shot would be unusually high, pulled to the left, and short. When I played this same shot from level ground I was generally close to the flag. One day I thought, "If I will be sure that my stance on a sidehill shot is as near as possible to my stance on level ground, the ball should chip out normally." I tried it, and it worked.