The Practice Park

Corey Roberson, Director of Golf

Getting the most out of your time and effort

Practice, practice, practice … from a young age, we learn that we have to practice a skill to improve our performance. I think we’d all agree, this is 100% true — it’s really hard to get better at something if you don’t do it very often. However, it’s more than just reps as quality can be even more important than quantity. At Cordillera Ranch, we have roughly 20 acres dedicated to practice. Between the Practice Park and practice area below the Clubhouse, we have a double-sided range, three chipping greens, three putting greens, two full practice holes, and two hitting bays with Swing Catalyst and Trackman. Effectively using these areas can lead to lower scores, winning money from your buddies, and more enjoyment out of the game. So, let’s dive into that!

Let’s start with the range. The range is great for warming up before a round and working on technical changes in your golf swing. When doing the latter, start by identifying what you are going to work on and commit the session to staying focused on that change. Regardless of what you are working on, always pick a target — this is an important component that often gets forgotten. As an example, let’s say you are working on your club path into the ball and you have your target identified — now, you need to setup your alignment rods and then you can hit a few shots. Take a moment after each shot and analyze what just happened, don’t just rake another ball and rip it. Hitting 30 shots in 30 minutes is going to be a lot more effective than hitting 60 shots in 30 minutes. Take time between shots, rehearse the move and reset.

When making changes in your golf swing, one of the hardest things to do is “transfer it across the road.” I think it works in phases — you have to get it right in a lesson, on your own on the range, on the practice holes, and then you can start expecting it to work on the golf course. Expecting a change to happen right away is basically setting yourself up for disappointment. To be fair, there are times when that works, but most of the time, you have to put in a little work. Now that we’ve covered how to use the range, let’s move on to the practice holes. We call our practice holes P1 (par 4) and P2 (par 3). You can practice just about every shot you are going to encounter on the golf course on these two holes. In addition, you can set up alignment rods as a target and hit both directions on P1 fairway. That particular fairway has a lot of slope so you can practice downhill, uphill, sidehill and all the possible combinations. Practicing a new move on a flat lie (on the range) is one thing — testing it on uneven ground takes the learning process to a new level.

These same concepts can be applied to all parts of your game, not just the full swing. For example, if you are struggling out of the bunker, practice teeing them up in the bunker by removing sand behind the ball, then go to an upslope. Once you get that to work, move on to tougher lies. We have six greenside practice bunkers where you can find every angle and hit every shot.

I think you’ll find the “transfer” a little easier and more consistent if you follow this process.

Corey Roberson is the Director of Golf at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at and 830.336.4653.

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