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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