5 Simple Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Range Session
The driving range is such a great place to be. Pick a bay (indoor or outdoor) and whack away to your heart’s content. Wide open spaces, fresh air and no worries of having to shout fore when you hit that big slice that would usually end up two fairways offline.
And on those dreary winter days when the sun isn’t shining and the rain is falling sideways and your local club is boasting the formation of a new lake that used to once be the seventh green, the driving range is a welcomed relief.
Some see it as a way to knock off an hour or two. Others see it as a social gathering. And all that is great, but that’s not what this article is for.
Because the driving range is also a place of incredible potential.
If you’re serious about your golf, if you’re looking to build consistency, improve tempo, strike those irons purer than you ever have, get that driver technique spot on, then the driving range is going to be a key ally in that journey.
We have created a post previously about training aids and which ones can help you improve your game. Now we are going to look at a few tips to help you make the most out of your range session. These are not drills specific to improving a single part of your game, they are simply tips on how best to make the most out of your practice.
Simple tips. But invaluable.
If you practice better, you play better and if you put into action the advice in this post, you will do both.
We’re all guilty of it. The super speedy large basket. 100 balls in 26 mins 37 seconds. A personal best.
Is it though? Is it really the best for you personally?
Let’s phrase the question like this, who has a better range session? The guy who hits 100 balls in 30 minutes and sprays them all over the range or the guy who hits 40 balls with laser focus, consistently repeating his swing or his movement or whatever else he is working on?
Correct! It’s the second guy. Focused repetition helps muscle memory and confidence in your swing. Of course, if you do this and every shot becomes a dreaded shank then something isn’t working and you probably need to get some lessons.
And what’s the benefit of practicing the same movement over and over again? You start to own your swing. It will become second nature to you. You will know how it reacts under pressure and you will become more consistent as a result.
Something that ties in with the ‘Don’t Rush’ tip is to have a proper routine. When we get out on the course, do we just walk up to the ball and hit it? No! We stand back, take a practice swing or two and then hit the ball.
The driving range should be treated in the same way. Develop a routine. Practice it. It doesn’t have to be excessively long so that you’re holding up the whole course. It could simply be a case of a quick look behind the ball to decide on the line and the type of shot you want to play, a simple practice swing and then, if you’re happy, hit.
Having a routine that you practice on the range will pay huge dividends. It will ensure you are focused on every shot and similar to practicing the same movement over and over, it builds confidence.
If you’re on the final in your club championship needing a par to win with water lurking on the left and OB on the right, the familiarity a routine gives will clear the mind, calm the nerves and help you pipe one down the middle.
Correct Alignment. This sounds pretty basic, but how many times have you stood behind someone at your local course and noticed that the hole is one way, their clubface is aiming another, and their feet are so far offline you question what hole they are actually playing?
Well chances are, you’re the same!
So many of us fail to get our alignment correct when we stand to the ball and it means that we never get true feedback on our shots. If you pick a target 150 yards away, end up aiming 20 yards right and still somehow hit it at the target, you’re pretty happy right? Problem is, you’re still aiming twenty yards right of your target and sending the ball twenty yards left of where you’re aiming.
Ensuring that you’re correctly lined up with not just the clubface and feet but also with your shoulders and knees means that you will get accurate and instant feedback on the accuracy of your shots and will also be able to replicate this while on the course.
Vary Your Targets
Whether this be flags or distance markers or nets, there’s always something to hit to on a driving range. Do you rock up to the range and pick one target and hit shot after shot in that direction?
If the answer was yes then I’m sorry to say you aren’t making full use of your range session. Think of it like this, how many times are you trying to hit the exact same shot at the exact same target in a round?
Pick three different targets during your session – one straight in front of you, one to the left and one to the right – and alternate between them. You’re keeping the brain working and the body guessing. Instead of getting comfortable with just one shot, you are now constantly having to change your eyeline and your set up.
This more accurately reflects, and will prepare you better for, what you will experience on the course.
Have Fun and Play Games
Golf is a game of fun! Never forget it. Perpetually frustrating but always fun.
Test yourself while you’re practicing and play games. If you’re with a friend, maybe it’s a closest-to-the-target-out-of-5-balls competition. If you’re on your own, play against yourself. See how many balls you can hit within a certain distance of a target. Set a record then come back the next day and try and beat that record.
All the top pros do this. It helps them stay competitive even in uncompetitive and relaxed settings. Once you get into the habit of doing this you’ll see a real improvement on the course!
And there are our 5 Simple Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Range Session. We’re confident that if you follow them you will see a marked improvement in your own course performance. So all that’s left to do now is hit the range!
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The Halpenny Golf Team