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Whats the deal with the driving range?


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I'm having the hardest time judging the ranges I hit my balls. It seems that on the course and on the range, I hit completely different distances.

For example, my favorite club 8 iron on the range will land right at the 114 yard flag every time. On the course, I use it to hit right to the center of holes I'm 130 away from (measured with my father's rangefinder).

Same goes for all other clubs, it seems on the range I'm a good 15-20 yards shorter than on the course. Is this common?

I don't use any fancy balls really either. I've played everything from TopFlites in the beginning to Noodles / used ProV1x.
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I'm having the hardest time judging the ranges I hit my balls. It seems that on the course and on the range, I hit completely different distances.

On the range you are hitting rocks. Even the cheapest regular ball is made to better quality than the typical range ball. Work on your swing at the range and don't worry about distance until you get to the course.

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Most of the ranges I frequent have range balls that are "dumbed down" golf balls...meaning they don't fly as far as normal ones. They do this to control you from hitting the golf ball out of the back of the range.

Off topic a bit, but when I was in Maui the Kapalua Bay course's driving range had these weird almost plastic type of golf ball on their range. It sucked.

P.S. - I guess I'm also supposed to say range balls suck.

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At the local range it progresses uphill a good bit but the ranges i hit at the range are pretty much identical to course play. If anything i almost come up short on the course.
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Some ranges use balls designed to hit shorter than regular balls. They are either a little heavier than regular balls or softer than regular balls (or both.)

Personally, I think that stinks. Part of the reason you go to a range is to practice hitting a consistent distance.
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I notice a difference between the four ranges I go to often.

I hear there are ranges in south Florida where you hit into a lake and the balls float. Anyone ever been to one of these?
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My homecourse uses a "75%" ball. I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why I wasn't hitting my normal distances, went inside and they explained it to me.

They basically said they couldn't provide the land for a full-fledged range. I thought things changed because I used to drive the ball out of the range.
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On the range you are hitting rocks. Even the cheapest regular ball is made to better quality than the typical range ball. Work on your swing at the range and don't worry about distance until you get to the course.

Exactly. At the range, worry about distance control between clubs, then figure out what your true distances are with your game balls.

Of course, you could always spring for a net and a Zelocity if you want to practice your distance with your game balls. I have heard the Zelocity (also being marketed now as "The Radar" by Vijay Singh) is very accurate, but I have no personal experience.
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I hear there are ranges in south Florida where you hit into a lake and the balls float. Anyone ever been to one of these?

In "Paper Tiger" by Tom Coyne, Coyne uses a "water range" and describes it. (IIRC, he rents an apartment that has one in the complex for its members. But I could be wrong about that detail. It's been several months since I read the book)

I would love to see a photo of one. I'm also curious about the floater balls and if they feel/fly the same as regular balls. EDIT: Google was my friend:
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Of course, you could always spring for a net and a Zelocity if you want to practice your distance with your game balls. I have heard the Zelocity (also being marketed now as "The Radar" by Vijay Singh) is very accurate, but I have no personal experience.

I've been considering a Zelocity. It gets fairly good reviews.
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I notice a difference between the four ranges I go to often.

Yeah, I've been to one those places in Palm Beach Gardens, right next door to PGA National. They use Cayman balls, which float and are designed to go about half the distance of a regular ball.

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I notice a difference between the four ranges I go to often.

I went to one over the winter near my grandparents house in Boca Raton. I was using a driver of one of his friends but I seemed to hit the ball really well. I didn't notice the balls carrying any less than at my home range.

It was pretty neat, there were two or three fountains in the middle of the lake. They made good targets as well as the shore on the other side.
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on the range i never worry how far the ball goes because, like others have said, the balls there are usually flying rocks.

i just use the range to get loose and control accuracy.

i also use it to practice different shots like fades, draws, punches, etc.
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