OK! I think we can all agree that golf can be a frustrating game for amateurs or even the great Tiger Woods.
Watching Tiger, Rory or Big Phil can make think how did they get so good! Don’t forget these guys, are practicing everyday.
To improve your game there is only one place to start, and that’s the driving range. Here we can practice our swing, drives, chips, using all the clubs we have in the bag.
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.”Arnold Palmer
We need to use this valuable time on the range for fixing any flaws in the swing, and improve consistency. This will benefit your game when you’re out on the course.
7 Driving range tips
- Turn up with a plan – Decide what you want to achieve before you arrive
- Warm up – Stretch and do some warming up exercises
- Don’t rush through shots – Concentrate on one shot at a time
- Move through irons high to low – Start with a 9 iron and move through your clubs
- Aim for specific targets and yard marker – aim each shot at a target
- Play as if you were on the course – Practise as if you you were on the golf course
- Hit the putting green – Don’t forget to practice your putting before you leave
Let’s go into more detail…
Preparation for a session at the driving range should start with stretching to avoid any injuries. This is even more important on colder days. If you’ve been at your desk all day your muscles will need to be warmed up. To find out more about muscles golfers use
Driving range practice plan
It’s important you have a plan when you arrive for a session.
What is it you want to achieve?
Is their an element to your game that needs fixing?
Structure your time well to get the most out of your practice time.
If you’re a beginner, getting to grips with your grip! could be something you want to work on, or possibly your stance is in need of some adjustment, or it could be you’re slicing the ball. There could be many parts of your game that need some work.
So having a plan before you start is important. If you need to work on a particular part of your game, it would be a good idea to spend 15-20 minutes just practicing that problem. Going from one club to the next every 5 minutes, is going to cause more problems than it will solve.
What should I practise at the driving range?
The driving range is where you should practice all your shots. A focused session should consist of repeating the same shot with the same club for 100 swings, this will help with consistency and build confidence.
Alternatively, you could choose to do an all round session which would include using all your clubs, and would consist of 15-25 shots with each club.
It can be too easy to rush your shots when you have a basket of 100 balls at your feet. This is different to playing a round. So treat every swing as if you were out on the course.
To help you focus on each shot, I find it’s better to put the basket behind you and just choose 5 balls at a time. This will help you from rushing through a session, and creating bad habits.
So not to become fatigued it’s better to start with a 9-iron and move up to drivers, with a light swing to fast. This gives you a natural progression through your clubs.
Don’t just practice on your swing, let’s target our shots. Use yard markers, to simulate a round of golf.
Further into a session you can take this a step further by using the driving range session to simulate a round of golf by starting with your driver, and then taking an iron for shorter approach shots.
Tip: Choose a bay near the end of the range, and if possible away from others. You will feel less pressure from those around you, and this will help you concentrate on your game.
Most golfers will end their session jump in the car and drive home, forgetting one of the most important parts of of the game.
Head over to the putting green, most shots in golf take place around the green, so taking some time to practice chipping and putting will help your game improve.
What are driving range surfaces made of?
You really only have a choice of 2 surfaces artificial grass (Astro Turf) or grass. The majority of driving ranges around the country will use artificial grass. If you can find a grass driving range then you are in luck. You will have the advantage of replicating golf course conditions.
Grass gives a natural feel and will simulate normal conditions on the course
Artificial Turf is popular at most golf clubs. It’s hard wearing, and easier to maintain
Artificial turf can’t compare to grass. The astro turf mat is usually laid on top of a concrete base which will affect your connection with the ball. If you hit behind the ball you will feel vibration as your club hits the hard surface. Which, unlike grass is softer, and you can take a divot, like you would on the golf course.
Of course you can always use a short tee for your iron shots will help, and for your drivers and woods off the tee, will make no difference.
Driving range etiquette
Driving ranges can be a great place to learn and practice your skills, but they can also be dangerous if you don’t follow the rules. Golf balls can cause serious injury, so be aware of those around you and the employees who are collecting the hundreds of balls on the range.
Unlike playing a round of golf at the club, there is no dress code required on the driving range. You’re OK to wear jeans and trainers. However, I like to dress as if I was playing on the course. I will always wear golf shoes. It puts you in the mindset as if you were out on the golf course.
7 Driving range rules you should follow
- Aim Straight – Don’t target your shots wider than your station eg. aiming at a target on your far right or left.
- Keep your balls together – Don’t tip your bucket and scatter your balls. Only take a few at a time.
- Move on once you’ve finished – Once you’ve finished your bucket step aside if others are waiting.
- No party here – If you need to listen to music use headphones.
- Stay Stationary – Don’t pick up balls outside of your station.
- Don’t target the range picker – They are not there for target practice, treat them with respect.
- Keep you distance – Be respectful of other golfers practicing. Give them space when walking past them.
- No talking – Unless you are having a lesson, keep the talking to a minimum. You will annoy the other golfers.
- Don’t divot the grass – On grass keep your divots to a minimum, stay in one spot.
2.5 million is the number of people who played on a golf course for the first time in 2019:National Golf Foundation
Is the driving range a good workout?
The driving range is a great workout for your body, and for the muscles we use in playing golf. However, you need to be careful. As a beginner your body is going to be using muscles it’s probably not used before! This can lead to injury. Sitting behind a desk all day is not going to prepare you for the workout you will get at the driving range.
Your arms, legs, and shoulders are going to get a serious workout with receptive movement in a very short time, but this will build up your body for when your out on the course. As a beginner be cautious of over extending yourself.
According to CalorieLab a 150 pound person burns around 136 calories in 60 minutes at the driving range, compared to 319 calories playing a round of golf.
|Calorie burning activity||15 min||1 Hour|
|Golf, walking, carrying clubs||80||319|
|Golf, miniature, driving range||46||182|
|Golf, walking and putting clubs||75||300|
|Golf, using power cart||57||228|
Your swing is going to use a variety of muscles these including the lower body muscle gluteus maximus or as we call it (your butt). Your upper body muscles also get a good work out which are your pectoralis major (chest), latissimus dorsi (back), core and of course your forearm muscles.
How do I get better at the driving range?
As with anything in life, Practice… Practice… Practice is the only way you will improve. Golf is no different. I would always recommend you take a few lessons when you start playing taking advice from friends who’ve play can teach you bad habits.
Tip: You may want to make a visit to the driving range a social event, but if you want to get the most out of your time, try and avoid going to the range with friends, and focus on your game.
So having a few lessons from a golf instructor can set you up, and improve your game quickly, no matter what your level.
Golf instructors charge anything from $25-35 per hour. It’s a good investment, instructors will teach you the correct way.
Can you go to the driving range too much?
Something I’m always asked, is How often should I go to the driving range?. For me once or twice a week is plenty. I’m still fairly fit, and have the time to go. However if your fitness is below par then you should spread your visits. To often and you could strain a muscle or worse.
You may not be playing 4 hours around the course, but the driving range is a more intense workout. Hitting 100 balls in 30 minutes for example is going to need some a lot of energy and constant swinging of the club. This could cause muscle injury, and then you would need time to recover.
It’s really what you feel comfortable with, and what spare time you have. If you feel your body can take the intensity of hitting balls repetitively then you should be ok. If you feel any strain or discomfort, then take it as a sign to stop, and avoid injury.
How many balls should you hit at the driving range?
As a beginner you probably need to start with 50 balls for your first session, and build up over time. Hitting more than 50 for your first time can be tiring. Your body needs to get use to the repetitive swing.
When you have been to the range 2 or 3 times then you can try 75 – 100 balls. Just remember to pace yourself, take your time, and make every shot count. We want to learn from each session, and improve your game.
Tip: If it’s your first time at the driving range, I would advise practising with your irons. Woods are heavy and your going to tire quickly, and it will give you more confidence when you move on to the bigger clubs.
A bucket of golf balls is fairly inexpensive, and you’re going to get 30 – 60 mins of practice time. Also don’t put off by those around you. remember no matter how good they are, they were also a beginner once, and with any luck they may offer you some friendly advice.
What is the best club for a driving range?
Although it’s called a driving range, all clubs can be used, from a driver to pitching wedge. Putting is for the practice green which is usually close to the driving range.
Driving ranges usually have a yardage of over 400 yards. although this depends on each golf club.
More experienced golfers will use their drivers on the driving range, and less with their irons. I use the full range of clubs, this helps with my short game, which in my opinion the most important part of your golf game.
As a beginner, it’s best to start with your irons such as 9,5 and 3. Get a feel of the clubs and target your balls around the driving range. By starting with your irons you can start to work on your grip and swing. Going with the driver first is a big ask. You’re probably going to hit a few all over the place, and that’s going to hurt your confidence.
Let’s get swinging first, and get a feel for your clubs. we can get the driver out another time!
Are driving range balls bad for your clubs?
No! driving range balls are not bad for your golf clubs, they are made of a heavier construction, and don’t fly so far, but they won’t damage your clubs. The better quality clubs you use, the less you will notice the difference between range and standard balls.
However, that said range balls will affect performance, as they are of a heavy construction, and win’t fly as fast or as long as your normal course ball.
Do range balls go as far?
Range balls are constructed differently to your regular golf ball. They have to undergo a lot more wear and tear, and are built with a 2 layer construction with a harder cover, so they can withstand constant hitting.
This extra layer of construction gives them more weight, and reduces the distance they will fly. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t appear to be hitting the ball as far.
Manufacturers of golf balls also make balls especially for driving ranges
Final Tip: If you’re a total beginner, then it maybe worth investing in a few golf lessons. Golf pros have been playing the game for years and will be qualified to teach. This way your unlikely to start off with any bad habits which can be difficult to correct later.