The average golfer spends time practicing by hitting balls on the driving range, usually hitting the same club over and over. That golfer may be working on improving their swing, trying to groove a better swing that will translate to better shots on the course. However, golf is unique in the fact that it is not played on a regulated court, field, or track. One course contains 18 different holes of golf, presenting different shapes, hazards, grass types, slopes and other variables. A golfer will encounter a number of different shots throughout the round, one shot the ball may be above your feet and the next below, one shot your left foot may be higher than your right and the next shot you have one foot in the sand. For this reason, trying to develop “perfect” swing may not be the best approach. Instead, think about developing a general motor pattern, one that can be adapted or modified to handle the variety of different lies and shots you may encounter in a round of golf. So, while practicing your swing on a perfectly flat lie and off of a mat feels like improvement, you are actually not practicing golf, you’re practicing hitting balls on the range. That disconnect is one of the many things that can make improvement so elusive. Next time you have time to practice, try hitting different shots with different clubs, drop a few balls in the rough, maybe designate 9 holes to on course practice where you can drop balls and experiment with different lies. Now, you are practicing golf!