I thought I'd just share views on the different things that help me improve at this game. I'd like to see more of this kind of thing from other players who are better than me (which is most of them.)
When I practice, which is once I week these days off the course, I don't simply go to an open field and see how far I can get the thing to fly anymore (just far enough for par, right). Instead, I find an uncrowded public park with lots of space and lots of trees, and practice executing what I consider to be realistic golf shots.
I carry with me a bin that contains 5 identical putters - same color, weight, and stamp - and 5 identical midrange discs - color weight and stamp. This way I am not thinking of any variable from one shot to another except those I am trying to correct or maintain.
I drop the stack, and from wherever I'm standing pick a target no more than 225'-250' away and I usually let the obstacles in between guide that decision. By that, I mean that I will always opt for the target that forces me to put the disc through a very realistic gap, or force me to really dial in the distance so as to not overshoot, or force me to control the ceiling and wing orientation really well. I do this because an open field shot, unobstructed, is rather idea but the practical reality is that during course play, most upshots aren't ideal and instead often feature one or more critical gaps, or a ceiling to manage. So, I pick a target that forms a realistic, challenging upshot...if the shot looks like something I'd rather NOT have to throw at, then THAT is my target - without question. Attacking gaps, attacking low ceiling shots, attacking park-or-die shots is what I am trying to get reps at executing, so that I'll be more comfortable doing that on the course.
Anyway, I fire away with the stack, doing the same pre-shot routine:
1.) Assume good posture
2.) Address the lie and conditions (wind, noise, etc.)
3.) Visualize the flight path, outcome....even the feel of the shot
I try to also assume some confidence, and this grows the more I go through this type of practice routine. When I watch pro players do their thing, I'm always impressed by the confidence they exhibit on challenging par-saving upshots or tight-gap tee shots in the woods. The lesson I take away is that (A.) aggressiveness and confidence are two different things, with the license to be aggressive being a natural outgrowth of confidence, and (B.) confidence comes best from diligent and focused practice that exposes, attacks and shores up weakness in the game. So there's a logical order there. Practice yields confidence, and confidence allows you to be aggressive, and aggressive shots executed with confidence are rewarded with good outcomes.
I have all kinds of work to do on my game, as anyone who has played with me will agree, but at the very least I now look forward to those narrow-gap-200'-tricky-par-saver upshots, instead of dreading them, and my score on such holes is gradually improving.
More to come. Always interested in others' tips or routines.