The driving range is a magical place of opportunity to improve your golf game. But how are you going to polish your golf skills with a bucket of 75 worn out yellow stripe range (pronounce ran – je) balls? There are two schools of thought: improve through repetition or practice like you play. We will look at both and see which one you should use and when.
Practice Like You Play
The new school of thought states that endlessly smashing the same shot does not build the muscle memory for the tempo of a golf game. Each ball placed in front of you should require a different club. Build that rhythm of the game through constant change. It is best to play a known course in your mind projecting it onto the driving range. After each swing, assess how far ball travelled and whether it would be in bounds or not. From this mental exercise, choose your next club to reach the green.
Smash and Repeat
Sometimes the purpose of the driving range is to polish a specific swing or club. The practice plan requires a plan as well. It is best to have two or three shots or clubs you want to work on. Limit your club swings to 10 golf balls. Do not blindly whack away. If you are using your driver, aim and set up as you would on the tee box. If you are using a wedge, aim each shot and pick a specific spot on the ground where the ball should fall. Watch the flight of each shot, even the bad ones.
How to Pick Your Poison
Let’s take a look at a few examples and see which approach would best benefit your practice time.
To explain the last bullet, one trick shot I always practice is my 4 iron punch shot. I always find myself under trees and this shot saved my bacon more times than I can count. If you find yourself under that same damn tree on the 8th hole, why no practice it as a shot so you can get out with confidence.
Driving ranges offer a great place to become a better golfer. But this only happens if you have a plan and stick to it. Change the plan and have fun with flexible goals. Remember that golf is a game of Whack-A-Mole. Once you “master” one skill or area, you will lose another area of expertise and confidence. Sinking putts like clockwork. Say goodbye to your 280 yard drives. LOL