The driving range is almost like the second home for golfers. You’ll see all types of players there from amateurs to professionals. For the newer golfers this is where they grind their practice and try to master the golf swing whereas for the elite level players, they need to maintain their skills.
Sometimes you might not have time to play a full round of golf therefore the driving range would be ideal for you to get practice in as well. However, to properly improve, you would need to optimize your time at the driving range. Most people just constantly hit a bucket of balls with no intention in mind.
Some might believe that the more balls you hit the better you get. For certain scenarios maybe, but it is not the same for golf. There are possibilities where you might pick up bad habits which will affect your swing in the long run. Focusing on the quality of your practice session rather than the quantity will be the most ideal way to improve. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Tour Players at the Driving Range
If we look at the top players in the world practice at the driving range, it’s notable that they start off their session with short wedge swings and slowly move up the bag. This way, they warm up from shorter swings as they move up the bag and build confidence in their swing through the process.
Even as they reach the driver, they do not constantly just hit with the driver for a long time unlike many amateurs. Pros practice shots that they’d use more on the course such as approach shots and shot shaping to certain distances. This is how they constantly hit the green in regulation!
Optimizing your Driving Range Practice
So to maximize your practice, let’s take some good things from the pros.
Warming up at the beginning is crucial to get your body warm and loose to be ready for the bigger shots. Start off with about 5 to 10 minutes of wedge shots then work your way up your bag. Learn your distances at the same time with half swings, three quarter swings and full swings. Slowly move up the bag to build confidence for the longer clubs after. This will probably take up to 15-30 minutes of your session.
The Core Practice
After this, you should probably be all warmed up and ready for the practice! Here you can start working on any flaws that you’ve identified in your swing throughout the warmup. For example, if you feel like your swing is very out-to-in then you can work on that in-to-out swing by shallowing your club on the downswing.
If you are a more elite golfer, working on distances and shaping shots would be great! Everyone probably has their own natural shape like a fade or a draw. However being able to hit both whenever you need to is key! You can try and visualize a 9 block grid in front of you and try to hit the ball in all the grids. Tiger Woods does this exact practice when he is on the driving range. He visualizes a grid and shapes his shots into each block. It would consist of high, mid and low shots as well as combining it with fade, straight and draw shots. Being able to hit these shots comfortably when you’re on the golf course would definitely help hitting the greens or getting around trees.
Visualize Golf Course Scenarios
Moreover, ending the range session it would be good for golfers to try visualizing playing a course. So something like picking two points in the range to determine the size of the fairway and play shots as if you’re playing at the course. Visualize some holes that you have played before previously. Play it from the tee box to the green. As an example, it could be like a par 4 that is 400 meters. Hit driver first to about 230 meters (depending on your own distances) then approaching the green with a shot at about 170 depending if you’re visualizing the flag being at the front or the back.
Alternatively, you can work on certain clubs in the bag to get your distances right. With experience from the golf course you would have an idea of what club you use a lot based on your tee shot. For example if you are always left with distances that are below 100 meters after a tee shot, it would be ideal to practice your wedges distancing more. So if you are able to figure out what you need to practice for your game at the golf course, it will definitely help your scoring!
To summarize this, start off with smaller swings and work your way up your bag. Get warmed up and start breaking things down analytically whether it is technique or a certain part of your game. Focus on what you need in order to improve your game, amateur or professional alike. If you think about these before you play, you will be too technical and start tightening up which might ruin your whole session.
Remember that practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
There are many driving ranges around the world which are open to the public. Here is a list of the best driving ranges in Kuala Lumpur. In any event that you do not have any company to the driving range or the golf course, you can download Deemples. On the Deemples app you can host or join games that are near you. Never golf alone again with Deemples!