Did you know that driving to the range can actually make your game worse?
I probably don’t have to convince you about this either. We’ve all had those days when we leave the range wondering what just happened.
There’s nothing more frustrating than wasting your time, energy, and money, only to leave the range feeling defeated.
But after you read these driving range tips, you won’t ever waste time at the range again. Keep reading to learn how professionals practice and get the best out of your game.
13 Driving Range Tips for Better Practice Sessions
There are two very different ways to play golf.
Golf is the only sport where you don’t practice on the field where you compete. Football and soccer players practice on the field. Basketball players practice on the court shooting, dribbling, and running drills.
You can think of it as golfers hitting the range and trying to carry that to their course. Driving ranges are vastly different to the course. The driving range is perfect for you because there are no hazards and you can get into a rhythm after you hit shots.
But when you’re on the golf course, you rarely have a flat lie in the fairway or a perfect distance to the flagstick. There are many hazards to avoid. This includes tricky lies, waiting 5-10 min between shots, and sometimes having to wait 5-10 minutes between shots. This is why so many golfers are great “range players” and struggle to take their skills to the course.
These 13 driving range tips can help you improve your practice skills.
1. Establish a goal for proper focus
How many times has this been repeated? “I’m going to just hit some balls at the range.” Only to leave the range feeling like you did just that – hit balls – not actually improve your golf swing. If so, don’t worry you’re not alone, I’ve been there myself too many times.
Before I put my golf clubs into the car, I have a clear goal in mind. This will make the session more efficient as you have a goal. This will help you make the most out of your time and get closer to your goals.
Here are some examples of goals for practice routines:
- Small bucket – focus on wedges and full pre-shot routine only.
- Medium bucket – play nine imaginary holes on the range with clear targets.
- Large bucket – wedges for 10 minutes, irons for 10 minutes, woods for 10 minutes, and simulate holes with remaining balls.
2. Always be warm
Before hitting any golf balls, it’s vital to warm up and prepare your body to make golf swings.
Many of us work too much, have tight muscles, then expect to swing like Rory and Bryson when we get to the fairway. Before hitting the golf balls, make sure you warm up at home, in your garage, or on the range.
Also, don’t forget to take practice swings betwen shots to make your golf balls last longer and feel any changes.
3. Understanding Quantity vs. Quality
Experienced golfers know that hitting more golf balls during your practice doesn’t give you extra credit with the Golf Gods.
Don’t fall into the trap that most golfers do thinking more golf balls is the only way to improve. Sometimes you’ll have a better session hitting a small bucket vs. a large one.
According to Tiger Woods in his book How I Play Golf, “Never judge your practice session on how long you practice or how many balls you hit. Some of the most productive sessions have lasted all of 20 minutes.”
Whatever your range session size, ensure that you take a break after every few swings. Give your mind time to process any swing changes and analyze what’s going on. Plus, it’ll make each more swing beneficial and simulate playing on the golf course.
4. Take control of your weaknesses
Your weaknesses should be your focus, not your strengths.
The easiest way to identify weaknesses in your game is to track your statistics. After playing a few rounds on a golf app, you should be able to see what needs improvement.
After reviewing your statistics, make a plan to spend your most time in those areas. Whether it’s full swings with driver, chipping, irons, or putting, stick to the plan.
Golf has a funny way of showing your weakness, usually when you’re in a tournament or about to shoot a personal best. You want to be able to perform at your best when it matters most.
5. Alignment aids can be used to align targets
A lack of a target is one of the reasons that golfers can become worse at the driving range. Many golfers just hit balls after balls without paying attention to their alignment or focusing on a target. This is a sure way to develop bad habits and make poor decisions on the course.
While you don’t need to use Alignment sticksThey should be used on every shot by both intermediate and beginner players. Until you get to know your aim and setup at the target line, these alignments sticks can make sure you’re set up square to the target.
Regardless of skill level, you should always have a target to make sure you’re aiming correctly. Whether it’s picking a tree in the distance or creating an imaginary fairway, you need targets. This makes it easier for you to determine your starting line and shot shape.
These are some of our favourite alignment drills.
6. Technical Practice
Technical stuff is important to develop a consistent golf swing. But a lot of golfers fall into the trap of only doing technical practice with training aids and drills. This is another reason why so many players don’t transfer to the course.
Don’t get me wrong, you need to work on mechanics, especially as a beginner golfer. You will become a more skilled golfer with a lower handicap and spend less time on the mechanics.
You should swing at a slower pace if you need to make swing adjustments or work on mechanics. This will make it easier for you to feel swing changes and hopefully make them stick.
If you need some drills to groove a more consistent swing, check out the best driving range drills here.
7. Get more wedges
Golfers tend to hit too many fairway woods or irons at the driving range. Sure, they’re more fun to hit but it won’t usually lead to lower scores on the course.
Instead, you should spend more time practicing your wedge game. You will love your pitching wedge and sand wedge more than you love your sand wedge.
Because of the distance you can hit it from, your chances of making birdies are higher with wedges. A strong wedge game can save you from bad ball striking days. Don’t forget to chip/pitch at the practice green too.
8. Competitive Practice
Driving range tips for beginners: Make it competitive. Whether you’re with a golf buddy or practicing solo, you want to add competition to make each session more effective. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lazy hitting golf balls and won’t simulate pressure on the course.
If you’re with a friend, do closest to the pin or driving competitions with a small wager. If you’re working on your golf game alone, he suggests trying activities to raise your heart rate to simulate pressure on the course. You might do 10 push-ups, run a lap around the practice area or hole three 8-footers before you can leave.
9. Practice your Pre-Shot Routine
Golf writer and avid player, I frequent the driving range. I’m always amazed at the preshot routines that I see. But it’s one of the few things that all elite players have in common.
Click here for more information about creating your own routine for pre-shots in golf.
10. Play Golf on the Range
Let’s face it, golf is expensive and those green fees can make a ding in the monthly budget. Not to mention it’s a big time commitment from work and family.
On those days when you can’t get to the course for a full round of golf, hit the driving range instead. Instead of playing 9 or 18 holes, you can focus on your swing instead of just hitting balls. You’ll save a ton of money and can work on your routine plus visualization.
Warm up on the driving range for about ten seconds, then play your favorite course in mind. If the first hole is a long par 5 then take the driver out and pick two targets to make fairways. The better you can be at a round of golf, it’s more realistic.
Remember, the mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real vs. what is imagined. So if you can simulate a round of golf on the range, you can trick your mind into thinking you’re on the course.
This is a great way for you to practice your pre-shot routine, pick targets for every shot, and take breaks between shots.
11. Speed Train
If you want to increase clubhead speed and hit more bombs off the tee, speed training is a great idea. We recommend that you use SuperSpeed golf sticks off the fairway, but speed training can be done on the range.
On certain days when you’re well rested, use the SuperSpeed sticks at home or in the parking lot to warm up. You can then warm up on your range, switching between wedges and driver.
Then, focus on one thing only – Distance. For a small amount of balls, you can swing as hard and fast as you like to get your muscles used for swinging faster. Don’t worry about accuracy or the result either.
To make this even more effective, use a launch monitor to track your clubhead speed. When doing these sessions, make sure you’re well rested and take plenty of breaks between shots.
12. Random Practice
As I’ve mentioned, practice isn’t like golf on the course. When playing golf, you don’t hit four drivers or 7-irons in a row. Instead, you’re hitting shots with drivers, irons, wedges, and hybrids. This is the way you should practice.
After warming up, hit every golf club in your bag. You won’t ever hit the same shot twice. Pick a target for each club and a shot shape. Random practice can be made even more effective by going through your entire pre-shot routine.
13. After the round, hit The Range
Here’s one part of practice that separates the pros from amateur golfers – when they practice. Professionals practice before they tee off, but they also go back to the range afterward.
Some amateurs manage to hit the range before the second hole, while almost all others reach the range after that. But it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do as your body is warmed up and loose. After you’ve completed 18 holes, you will know which parts of your game need work.
As a bookend, you can hit a small bucket with balls if you have the time. Don’t use this time to speed train or work with training aids. Instead, feel your swing and work on improving the weakest areas that occurred during the round.
Finally, hitting balls afterward is something I enjoy because it ensures you end the day with a good shot. There’s nothing worse than finishing a round with a bad 18th hole and the sour taste it leaves driving home.
Post round practice sessions are also available for the putting green. Spend 10-15 minutes putting if you are having trouble on the greens. This will help to get your game back on track and correct any problems. Check out our best putting drills for some inspiration.
FAQs about Range Sessions Practice
Do you have additional questions about getting the most out of your practice sessions? Keep scrolling down to find answers to frequently asked questions.
What should a beginner do on the driving range?
If you’re new to golf, you want to work on the fundamentals at the driving range. This includes your grip, ball position and stance, alignment, pace, tempo, and overall golf swing.
Next, focus on wedge play and your usual tee shot (which will probably be a driver).
What is the best club for driving range?
There is no “best club” to use at the range. Instead, you should practice your shots and work on the ones that are most difficult. For some, this might be your iron game while for others, it could be your driver.
Although, if you had to practice with one club more than most on the range, it’s your driver. Since it sets you up on 10-14 holes per day, it’s arguably the most important club in the bag (aside from your putter). If you’re confident with your tee shot game, it makes it much easier to score well, even on your off days.
How do I practice ironing at my driving range?
It is important to keep your mid-game in mind when working on improving your game. This will give you a clear objective.
How often should I drive to the driving range?
There is no limit to how many hours you should spend on the driving range. Remember, more practice doesn’t always mean better results; sometimes it’s about quality over quantity. It all depends on your schedule, and your golf goals.
Do range balls go shorter?
Range balls are different from normal golf balls for many reasons.
First, some balls go significantly shorter as they are “distance control” balls. I used to hit balls at a driving distance of only 270 yards. They used golf balls with a short range to stop players from hitting the green.
Additionally, range balls are usually cheap golf balls that don’t mimic a Pro V1Or something similar. Even if they’re brand new, most municipal golf courses or driving range only establishments don’t use top tier golf balls. Plus, they can wear down and reduce distance.
Only the most exclusive, private golf courses are allowed to use them. Pro V1Similar practice balls. But the more often they’ve been hit, the less likely they are to perform like a normal golf ball.
How many balls should you hit on the driving range?
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding practice in golf is that more is better. You don’t get any extra points from the Golf Gods for hitting a jumbo bucket vs. a small bucket. Sometimes less is more.
When golfers get a massive bucket, there’s a subtle urge to hit them all, even if you’re off or rushed for time. But if you’re hitting it poorly and not resting between balls, you might actually get worse during your session.
While there are times when you do need to focus on quantity (like when making swing changes) it shouldn’t be every time. You can mix it up by using different sizes depending on the time available and the goals for each session.
Final Thoughts on the Golf Driving Range Tips
Don’t forget, golf practice is very different from playing golf. These driving range tips will help you make your practice more like real golf.
Here are some of the best tips.
- Check your alignment.
- To mix it up, hit random shots.
- Hit more wedges than the mid-irons.
- Practice your preshot routine and choose targets.
Don’t forget that quality is always better than quantity. A longer practice doesn’t make it a better session. Lastly, always have fun so you’re motivated to keep progressing toward your golf goals.