How to Get the Most from Your Practice at the Driving Range

Are you getting the most out of your practice? Or are you wasting your time at the driving range?

We all want it. We all need it. And we’ll spend large amounts of time and money to get it. What is “it”? A better golf swing. A straighter drive. A more consistent distance and aim with our irons. Have you spent hours at the driving range, and seen little or no results? Do you get frustrated, and feel like range time is wasted time? Few of us have much time to waste. 

What is the problem?

I’ve been there. I have been golfing for 25 years, and have spent countless hours on the driving range. Not only have I experienced it, but I have seen many beginners and experienced golfers making the same mistakes. What mistakes? How can we fix them?

What Am I Doing Wrong?

First mistake many make is, they stop by the range on their way to the first tee. They get out the driver, tee up the ball, and swing for the 300 yard marker. They do this over and over through a bucket of balls, and can’t seem to figure out why almost every shot goes 50-75 yards right of their target. Waste of time? Depending on the end goals, it could be. So how can we make the time we spend at the driving range yield better results? 

Helpful Tips for Better Results 

Let me share a few tips, things I have found helpful over the years. 

  • Go to the driving range when you have time to practice. Not when you’ll be rushed off to the first tee, or rushed off to run the rest of your errands. 
  • Stretch. Get loose. You can’t get proper shoulder turn and get a fluid swing, if your whole body is as tight as a guitar string. 
  • Practice with a purpose- have a specific goal in mind, something you’re looking to achieve through your practice.
  • Get your grip right. This is actually something you can do at home, before you ever get to a driving range. There was a time that I would sit on my couch, watching TV, with a club in my hands getting my grip right. You want your golf grip to be something you just do, not something you have to think about before every shot. You can find some terrific grip advice from Ben Hogan, one of the best golfers of all time, and you can find his book here.
  • Start with your short irons. This will not only help you loosen up, but the short irons are really where you can shave strokes off of your game. Pick a target, aim for it, and hit as many balls as it takes to achieve your goal. Maybe there is an actual target, a barrel, a flagstick, an old satellite dish to aim at. Make a game out of it. Have fun with it. I have sometimes hit a whole bucket of balls with a sand wedge or pitching wedge, just trying to hit balls into a barrel at 75-100 yards. 
  • Work your way through the clubs in your bag. Short to long irons, then hybrids, or fairway woods/metals, and then the driver. Most golf courses only give you about 10-12 holes per round that will require a driver off the tee. So don’t spend too much time just working on the driver. 
  • Make notes. When you find something that works, write it down or take pictures. I used to wonder why I could never replicate good shots. I would hit a really good one and wonder what I had done differently that time. So I started taking mental notes before each shot, and if it was a good one, I’d write down everything I could remember about that shot. I’d write down my feet alignment, ball position, how high the ball was teed, the length of my backswing and follow-through; anything and everything I could remember. Then I would tweak those things, and hit more balls. And more balls. That really helped my game and improved my practice. 

Now What Do I Do?

These are just a few tips that have helped me to make my time at the driving range more productive. I am certain these things can help you too. If you’re just bombing golf balls with a driver to work out some frustration, that is one thing. But if you really want to improve your game, and stop wasting your range time, practice these things. And practice with a purpose, with a real goal in mind. 

When you start to see your game improving, and see the results of your practice on the course, you will realize that there is a different, a better way to practice. And you will stop wasting the precious time you get to spend on the driving range.


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