Making the Most of the Practice Range

Hitting balls at the practice range is essential for a high handicap golfer to reach playing bogey golf. You are being unrealistic if you think working on your swing only during rounds is enough to quickly progress your game. While we all live busy lives and not many of us have the time that pros do to hit thousands of balls a week, an hour a week at the practice range could be the difference between shooting 90 or not.

Committing an hour a week at the practice range is the first and most important step but you also have to use that hour as productively as you can. Many amateurs hit too many balls with their driver or go through every club in their bag each time at the range. The best plan is to work primarily on the areas of your game that are costing you the most strokes. Keeping statistics during each round is the easiest way to know what you need to address at the practice range. Take the guesswork out of it and let your game tell you what you need to work on. Don’t work on improving an area of your game that is already relatively strong when there are other areas that truly need the work. Your golf game is only as strong as its weakest link.

Once you have determined what clubs to work on at the range, don’t just robotically hit one ball after another. Do some role playing. What I mean by this is to pick a definite target and go through your pre-shot routine. Simulate shots you will encounter during actual play. By doing this you will find it easier to translate what you gain on the range over to the course.

Along with a driving range, golf courses have a practice green to go along with it. Most of these practice greens also have a sand trap along side. The short game is the most important part of anyone’s golf game. It’s vital that you spend time on and around the practice green along with the time you spend on the practice range. More of your strokes come from putting than any other area of your game. Work on producing a consistent putting stroke so you can correctly judge the speed of your putts. Remember to work on the short putts so you can consistently drain the three foot putts on the course.

Putting is not the only part of your short game. We do not hit every green in regulation so we need to build proficiency around the green. Make practicing your chipping part of your regular routine at the practice range. Many amateurs use a wedge around the green for all their shots and attempt to fly the ball almost all the way to the hole. A better way is to get the ball rolling as soon as possible by using a less lofted club such as a seven or eight iron. Practice chipping the ball just on the green and correctly reading its roll to the hole. It’s easier to judge the slope of the green than it is to correctly fly it the right distance to the hole.

Most amateurs are terrified of hitting out of a green side sand trap. The truth is while it takes a different setup and swing to successfully get out of the sand, it is a shot that can become consistent for you with a little practice. Spend time in the practice bunker until you feel confident you can successfully land your ball on the green from a green side bunker while out on the course.

There may be some talented athletics who can take up golf and shoot 90 by just playing rounds, but most of us need to spend regular time on the practice range to elevate our game. Just spending time on the practice range isn’t enough. Target specific areas of your game that need the most work and include time for your short time in each practice session. Making time for quality practice each week will put you on the fast track to shooting 90.

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