27 March 2022
We all know how addictive the game of golf can be, and there aren’t many things more satisfying than a successful range session. But what actually makes a productive and worthwhile practice at the driving range? Here’s 3 simple driving range tips that will help you structure your practice, and hopefully have some fun along the way!
1 – Less is more
While it may be tempting to grab a basket of 50, maybe 100, golf balls at the range it simply isn’t the most effective way for you to be practising in terms of time, energy, or quality of practice. Firstly, before you even pick up a golf club, you need to warm up properly. Maybe some squats, a few jumping jacks, even just some rotational movements to stretch. It makes quite the difference if you’re swinging cold, and we are trying to recreate how we play on the course (just with a bit less walking!)
Once you’re warm, start slow and give your body time to get into its rhythm. For some people this only requires 5 shots, for some it might be nearer the 10 or 15 mark – it’s whatever works for you. So, simply add this number of warm up shots to the 20 you are going to hit with clear intention.
It may seem strange to only hit a small number of shots, but do not be afraid of only grabbing 20 golf balls for your entire practice. After all, isn’t it better that you hit 20/20 good shots than 20 good shots scattered amongst 30 mishits? Less is more! This is especially pertinent if you are working on something technical in your game – you must slow everything down, be methodical, and try to get it right every time rather than rush and leave the range in the same place as when you arrived. It requires patience, but it also requires focus and if you start to limit yourself to 20 balls per range session you will naturally take more care over your shots. This way you will not only improve your golf game but you also won’t run out of energy, won’t waste time, and you will overall feel more content, and confident, leaving the range.
So, envisage being on the course, envisage taking the club out of the bag, and go through your pre-shot routine – this is practice too. You don’t always have to be swinging a club to improve your game. This may feel strange at first, but it’s healthy to give yourself those breaks between shots – it gives your body and mind a moment of reflection and you can learn a lot from a brief moment of thought.
2 – Keep it fun!
There are times to take golf seriously, and there are times to have a bit of fun with it… the driving range is definitely the place to have some fun with this game we are devoting our time to. The driving range has no consequences, you have no scorecard, there are no bunkers, there’s no green or hole at the end of a fairway – you have free reign. So, take advantage!
One thing that may take some time is finding the best practice drill for you – so you just have to experiment with different options until you find one that you like. You can choose your own fairway between distance markers and keep track of how many drives you hit (and how many you miss!) You can try to carry a particular distance board, preferably a distance you are not very comfortable with. You could try to hit a ball lower than the height of a tree, or even a flag; think of those tricky shots you never prepare for on the course. It is crucial you get comfortable with creating different ball flights! Challenge yourself to draw the ball, or fade it, and keep track with points: 1 point for every successful shot and -2 for every miss, try and reach 5 points.
There are so many options to keep your mind focussed rather than hitting aimless shots into a field. And do not feel restrained by the dreaded square mats, find some grass if you can! Bring a friend, bring some snacks, listen to some music, and enjoy.
3 – Have a goal
Finally, all of this is well and good but what are your reasons for showing up to the driving range in the first place (apart from having fun of course)? Perhaps the most difficult part of practising at the range is deciding why you’re actually there.
One easy way of feeling more productive and feeling like you have made the most of your 20 shots, is by setting a small goal at the beginning. The goal doesn’t have to be ultra-specific, remember this is your practice! Perhaps your goal is to just have fun, to spend an hour doing something you enjoy without getting annoyed if it doesn’t go to plan; it could be as simple as wanting to aim correctly at your target for every shot. These are perfectly acceptable goals. Remember, the more fun you’re having the more likely you are to naturally improve.
Some people find more specific goals really motivating and so you could go to the range with the aim of improving a technical point in your backswing. Maybe you want to pick a target and hit 10 shots within a 20-yard radius. Maybe you want to improve your fairways hit and so you choose a particularly narrow fairway and give yourself a target of hitting 12 out of 18 drives in the fairway. If you want to practice your iron play perhaps you can alternate between different clubs, and pick a different target for each shot, remember you can use the entire range. And be creative with a points system! If you’re lucky enough to be practising on a range with greens and flags then use all of them, not just the one closest to you.
If you find it hard choosing a goal, it can be really useful to analyse your game on the course and see where you need to improve. Knowing how to use data and statistics can be a great pathway to getting to the next level and seeing where you’re making mistakes. This is really simple with some easy-to-use tech like a GPS Watch as it does all the work for you. So, stick in, be concise, and keep things simple; but overall try to enjoy the process of practice and improvement, however you find works best for you!
Did you know that 84% of missed putts over five feet finish short? Or, that your typical drive is nearly 30 yards shorter than your Sunday best drive? These are just two intriguing statistics thrown up by Shot Scope’s performance tracking data platform. Download our free guides for golfers now!FREE e-books to lower your score