It’s good that you are going to the driving range and spending some time practicing. Driving ranges offer everything you need to lower your handicap and play better golf, but most players don’t know how to use them correctly.
There is a right and wrong way to spend time during a range session. Here are some tips to help you get the best from your time in the driving range.
10 driving range practice and tips
One of the misconceptions golfers have is that you need lots of gear and training aids to have a successful practice session. This could not be further from the truth. However, there are a handful of tools you might need, so keep this in mind when going through the list.
Simulate golf holes
Even though you are not playing golf holes while practicing on the driving range, simulate the golf holes in your mind.
It’s much more effective to hit a driver, followed by a 7 iron, a wedge, and a chip, than to stand and hit 30-45 golf balls with the same club aimed at the same target. I know you want to work on muscle memory and control, but you must consider the importance of ” playing” instead of just practicing.
Golfers who don’t learn the best way to manage driving range practice become golf driving range professionals, but they can’t hit a target on the golf course.
Know what your golf swing looks like
Knowing your golf swing tempo and what golf swing looks like is helpful when working on your skills. One of the best driving range tips is having a friend or golf partner take a few videos of your golf swing. As you go through a bucket of balls, think about some of your positions during your swing.
You don’t need to be a golf professional to see major swing issues like losing balance or not staying centered in your golf swing. Learn what your golf swing looks like and compare it to professionals and experienced golfers to develop a goal for your practice range session.
Use your pre-shot routine
All golfers should have a pre-shot routine that they use before every shot. Use this same routine when you practice. Your routine will help ensure that the work done during your practice routine comes out on the golf course.
All good pre-shot routines also have a mental component, another important factor to practice while you work on the range.
Your practice session will take a little longer to incorporate this routine in, but it will be well worth it.
Change your golf club often
If you are working on your pitching wedge, take a break after a few swings and hit some mid-irons or fairway wood. When you change things up and hit with different golf clubs, you can maximize your learning potential and improve your golf game.
I like to hit a bunch of golf balls in a row at the same target. I’ve had to move away from this habit during my golf practice to transfer my learning to the course.
Setup alignment sticks
Alignment sticks are your friend when you are in the driving range. Many golf ranges have the sticks available for you to use; if not, it’s worth investing in at least two.
With alignment sticks, you can work on alignment, ball position, setup position, and even swing plane and path. The key here is to avoid blindly hitting tee shots and approach shots; you are lined up to a target with the ability to know if you are hitting that target.
Work on distance control (use your rangefinder)
The yardage markers to the different targets on the driving range are never all that accurate. If you hit ball after ball to the 75 marker with your sand wedge, you may find that it was 85 yards from the tee position that day.
Seasoned golfers take their rangefinder to the driving range with them. They will point the rangefinder to the target, get yardage and then work on distance control. Check those yardages the way you would during your round of golf.
Remember that range balls sometimes limit flight, so it’s good to work on distance control during your driving range practice session. However, be smart about the distances and the other factors before you assume you are hitting a 75-yard or 100-yard target.
Move the bucket a few feet away
One of my favorite tips for beginners who are just starting to work on their game is to take the bucket of golf balls and move it a few feet away from you. When the golf balls are close, you can reach in and pull one out one after another.
If the bucket is a few feet away, you must slow down your routine and make it more like the golf course.
I used to hit golf ball after golf ball, and my golf scores never really improved. I slowed my routine down, moved the bucket away from me, and have seen greater improvement in the rounds of golf following that session. This theory works!
Practice different types of golf shots
Hitting a straight golf shot is incredibly important, but elite players can control ball flight. The driving range is a perfect place to work on hitting iron shots that draw and fade, hitting tee shots that are high and low, and even using the practice green to work on different pitches and chips.
Usually, the difference between average and professional golfers is the ability to control the ball. Use the driving range skill practice as a time to put yourself in control of the golf ball again.
Don’t overdo your training sessions
Try to have a driving range practice plan in place. This plan should include a mix of drivers, pitch shots, mid irons, fairway woods, and some time to work on swing consistency and shot shape. However, leave the range when your swing starts to feel tired and you are making mistakes.
There is no benefit to pushing it and making the practice session overly difficult. You should instead be working on quality over quantity.
A driving range is not just for pre-round warm-up
Finally, I encourage you to use your practice sessions at the driving range to become a better player. Running to the range and blasting 20 golf balls before you head out for a round of golf is not a practice session. It’s a warmup.
Use your time at the driving range when you are not playing golf. Head to the range with focus and a bucket of range balls that can be used to lower your golf score.
These driving range tips should help accelerate your golf goals and help you start to lower your handicap. Incorporate golf technology and golf feedback tools where you find it necessary. However, the most important part of golf training is determining what it takes to retain that information the next time you head to the golf course.