Why can I hit my driver on the driving range like a champ but as soon as I get to the golf course I don’t know where my drives will land?
We all have said this and the answer is right in our face. Take a step back and look at the instance of that crushing 300-yard shot on the range. It was not one shot. It was the combination of several shots with the same club. Repetition allowed you to hone the shot and correct your mistakes. There are times to set a driving range ritual to work through your clubs. Sometimes you need to alter the way you practice on the driving range.
We have all heard the expression when taking a Mulligan, “The second player is always the best.” The driving range is the ultimate place for the second player to emerge.
Driving Range is not just for Mindless Hitting Buckets
The driving range is the place for practice so treat it like a practice round. This technique requires three things to work: knowledge of a course and its scorecard, a good imagination, and being honest with yourself.
I have done this when I played in an office league and we played the same course over and over. It improved how I used the time on the range.
Use Your Imagination on the Driving Range
First, either grab an extra scorecard on your next round or pull it up on your phone. Warm up with a quarter of the bucket of range balls.
Once your muscle loosen up, practice time is over and pretend you now stand on the first tee box. Treat this time as if the golf course is front of you. Cut no corners on your swing ritual.
- Take aim.
- Take a practice swing.
- Set up each shot.
- Watch each shot to its fruition.
Set up for your first drive like you are on the first tee box. Pick an aiming point on the range. Also, pick out the width of the fairway. This will help determine if you are in the fairway or not. Duplicate your exact swing process now from top to bottom. Treat this shot like it counts. Swing. Where did the ball go? Estimate distance and subtract it from the hole’s distance. Be honest. Do not say the drive went 275 if you normal don’t hit that distance.
Move to your next shot by finding a target on the range that mimics the distance you need. If you guestimate you have 170 left, find the 150 flag and aim for 20 yards beyond that. Swing. Watch the shot and determine if the ball would have made and stuck to the green. If you were short, hit a chip shot.
The Rhythm of the Golf Course on the Driving Range
This process takes time. You do not have to wait for other players but you do have to complete the entire swing ritual instead of teeing up another ball to be fired at random. We are not shortcutting the swing process. We are feeling the rhythm of the course. Each shot has meaning but we can see how we can improve.
If you have a strong imagination, you find your heart beating quicker on the same holes that you would on the course. This is a great opportunity to take a few deep breaths and learn to control your mind as well as your swing. If you miss a shot, take a minute and figure out how. Shake it off and move on.
There are several ways to invest your time on the driving range and this one to use from time to time. Take what you learned and apply it to the course. If you find yourself rushing your swing process on the course, slow down.