Many amateurs use the range with the intent of ‘getting in some practice’. They understand that being a better golfer takes time, dedication and work on the range. After picking up a large bucket of balls, they make their way to their favorite spot on the range and hit them all in less that 15 minutes. It is like watching Speedy Gonzales racing around for cheese.
After hitting all the balls in their bucket, the player saunters off to do something else. Unfortunately, their time on the range was not well spent and they did not take advantage of what the range had to offer. I recently went to a driving range and was thrilled to see its set up and immediately made a plan to use all the range during my focused practice session.
Every range should have various markers or targets in the landing area. These barrels, flags or signs are important features to the player wanting to make the most out of their practice. I recently went to the range and was very happy to see how it was set up.
I had a bucket of 100 balls. The first 10 were for warm up with my 7-iron, the next 20 were used to zero in my distances. I find at some ranges the targets are not always as advertised. I used different clubs and from my experience of hitting my clubs to known distance, here is what I determined:
- 1 – 60 yards
- 2 – 86 yards
- 3 – 110 yards
- 4 – 165 yards
- 5 – 210 yards
- 6 – 250+
Now my real practice started. I divided the balls into 12 groups of 4 balls. These 48 balls were for practice for each target. I would hit 4 balls at 1-6 consecutively, slowly increasing my clubs from 60 degree wedge to driver. I hit every club (except my putter) and I aimed for a target every time. The results of this practice showed that I was setting up left with all my clubs and needed to adjust my aiming point. It was a minor adjustment, but one I continue to learn for some unknown reason.
The nest 22 balls was target practice. I hit one ball at each target one at a time. I never hit at the same target twice in a row. I would select the appropriate club, go through my pre-shot routine, and execute the shot. By rotating through the different targets, I was simulating game conditions and therefore trying to reinforce my shot making routine. I hit 18 balls and the results very good. I was generally on target with no disappointing shots.
The final 4 balls was for my driver. After having a great practice season, I decided to hit my driver for fun and to hear that crisp snap of the ball leaving the club. It was a reward of sorts and a great way to finish my practice session!
Using the entire range is important to lowering your golf scores. Most of us have a limited time to practice, so using this time effectively will have the greatest benefit to your game. The next time you hit the range, remember to always pick your target and to use all the range!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!