Preparing to Play Golf Without a Driving Range

The course I play on a regular basis does not have a driving range. There is a reasonable chipping and putting green and a driving net. Of course this is not the best scenario for preparing to play golf, but I have developed my own routine make the best of the situation. I use my system when preparing for tournaments and most rounds. Continue reading

Divots on the Driving Range

Yesterday, I had a great conversation on Twitter with a couple of Grateful Golfers. Barry was asking about how divots should be made on the golf course to best protect our driving ranges. Kelly Crumpler, a USGTF Teaching Professional, indicated that the line method is the best when practicing our irons and protecting our practice areas.

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Ball Position in Your Golf Stance

ball position within golf stance.While on the driving range with a friend a couple of weeks back, we started a discussion about where the ball should be position in your golf stance. Immediately, I mentioned that the position changes depending on whether he was playing a short iron, mid iron, long iron, or wood. I have always used this method and until now, I never realize that there was a second method.

Ted Norby, Director of Instruction for the National University Golf Academy, explains the relationship of ball position to your body position is the real reason for ball placement in your stance. His explanation was excellent and easy to understand. Because of the relationship is between the ball and body, there are actually two methods to determine the correct position of the ball within your stance. Norby explains below:

As stated by Norby, the other method is to pick a position within your stance and widen or narrow your feet as required. This is not something I have tried, however players like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods position their ball in this way.

If you are trying to decide the best method for you, I recommend you hit the range and try each one. One particular method of position your golf ball might feel natural for your swing. Regardless, make sure it is best for you!

Personally, I have no challenges with my current method of moving the ball within my stance, but will try the other method at the range because I want to remain open to all ideas that might help me attain my goal of being a scratch golfer.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Tricks on the Range

To most golfers, the practice range is a sacred place. It is a place where players like Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Vijay Singh or Grateful Golfers regularly hone their skills. A major difference between a professional golfer and an amateur is their intention as the approach the practice range. It is this intention that helps focus their practice to accomplish their goals.

After hours on the practice range, there is no question they have developed some tricks to help make the most out of their practice time. Here are some sites to check out:

Each of these offer good advice on developing a routine and a great starting place for anyone trying to improve their game through focused practice.

Through the years, I have used many of the above suggestions and the following tricks that helped fix my woes.

When fixing a slice or a hook, I stand on the far side of the range. As a right-handed player with a slice problem, I stand on the far left side. This may seem strange, but it forces me use a different swing plane and aiming point.  I am so focused on not hitting the ball out of bounds, that it helped me straighten my slice.

It is important to use aiming sticks. At the very least, use two clubs. These training aides help align your swing and your aiming point. I use them to determine my ball position in relation to my stance, determine my swing plan by the relation of my divot to the aiming sticks, and my alignment of my feet in comparison to how I am aimed. Check out for a complete guide on how to use alignment sticks.

Flag AlignementMy last tip deals with using the flag sticks out in the range.  On my course, it is possible to line up all the sticks until they are one behind each other. I use this visual aid to help identify a poor swing, whether I am fading or drawing the ball that day and to help with my aiming points. If I am on a different range, I will try to line up at least two flags and use them as my aiming point!

There are plenty of tips and tricks to use on the practice range. Today I have mentioned just a few that worked for me.

Golf is all about sharing, so do you have any tips or tricks to use on the practice range?

I am grateful golfer!  See you on the links.

I Should Have Brought A Shovel!

First Time OutAfter long last, I made it to out golfing.  Being away last week during the fantastic weather delayed my yearly pilgrimage to the driving range.  Today, a friend of mine and I shared a large bucket of balls….about 40 balls each.  That was enough for me.  Unfortunately, the chipping and putting area were closed, but that is okay.  I will definitely be practicing my short game very soon.

As I hit started to hit balls, I realized something:  I should have brought a shovel!  I was digging and scooping and, and, and!  It was not pretty.  I did hit a few good shots with my 7-iron, 3 wood and driver.  However, I planted a garden with the rest.

The main reason I only hit a few balls is to reacquaint my body with golf.  The twisting and moving of my hips and back.  Trying not to hold the club too tight.  The alignment of my body to the direction I want to hit.  All these are important and my experience is not to over do the first time out.

Tomorrow, I hit the links…not that I am ready, but the season started late this year so I am going to compressing my preseason routine.  It was great to swing a club today.  I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!