Hitting it pure on the range, followed by a poor performance on the course is not something strange to golfers. There is nothing good that comes out of this combination. Obviously, if Timmy stripes shots on the range and can’t break 80, he has mental issues. Or does he?
In Timmy’s defense, the only thing missing from his game is his ability to properly align himself in the setup given the circumstances. You see this when tour player’s caddies help players with their aim before they hit a shot. More times than not, the little movements and procedure before the backswing begins have a greater impact on the quality of the shot. The good news is you can control 100% of this area.
So what are those things?
It’s essential to understand the conditions on the range vs. the golf course. Timmy is proficient at hitting solid shots on a perfect lie. Not only is the lie tight but also level. Your chances of getting a level lie on the golf course are slim to none. The only time you will encounter a level lie is on the tee box, and still, that might not be the case. This factor alone can dramatically affect the outcome if the player doesn’t know how to setup properly.
Without going into detail on how to hit each shot, these are some factors you should consider.
Downhill Lie: With a downhill lie, you can expect the ball to travel farther than expected with a lower trajectory. Taking more loft (club up) will help counteract the distance and help to get the ball higher. Slightly bending your front leg more, moving your weight forward, will help align your hips and shoulders with the slope.
Uphill Lie: With an uphill lie, you can expect the ball to travel a shorter distance with a higher trajectory. Taking more club (less loft) will help you get the ball to the target. Again, you need to set your shoulders with the slope so you aren’t coming in too steep.
Ball Bellow Feet: From a hanging lie, you can expect the ball to move from left-to-right and farther. This means you need to aim left of your target and take less club if necessary. Since the ball is bellow your feet, widening your stance will drop your center of gravity making it easier for reach the ball. The distance from you and the ball has increased making the arc longer, producing a slightly longer shot.
Ball Above Feet: Having the ball above your feet will produce a shot from right-to-left. Depending upon the severity of the slope will tell you how much movement the ball will have. This also means you need to aim right of target, taking more club if necessary.
Spending time practicing these lies will make you better prepared than the level driving range will.