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Hitting A Ball For Nothing


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Just a suggestion, which may have already been covered - this is a brief visit between sessions.

When i use the range, I begin by warming up with some wedge shots - starting with chips, then pitches, then full-blown swings.

Then - THEN - i play an imaginary round in my head, round my local club. I hit driver, then iron, then allow myself two putts (naturally, I'm on the green in my head!) and on to hole two - driver, long club (depending on the wind) and so on.

if I hit a bad shot, I try it again.

It's practicing with purpose and I feel it gets a better result than just slammin the balls with no objective in sight.

Just my 10c worth.
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I have the same feeling as you, Dent. All of the ranges near me are artificial mats (so I don't go to them), and the grass range at my course bores me.

Here's what I do (you probably need to belong to a small club or play at a quiet muni to do this):

Load your bag up with 20 or so golf balls. Go to the course on a quiet afternoon (sometimes I'm the only one there). Find an area of the course where you can see the previous hole(s), so you'll know well in advance when someone is coming up behind you (giving you time to pick up the balls). Then, use the course as your range. You can hit from all distances using real golf balls (not crappy range balls) to a real green (so you can see how the ball reacts) from real grass (not artificial turf or divot-filled range crabgrass). You can practice downhill lies, uphill lies, sidehill lies, rough, bunkers, bizarre shots, etc. You can even putt out. It's fun and never gets dull. Sure, you may look funny, but if there's no one around, who cares?
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I generally don't hit on the range unless I have something very specific I want to work on. When I'm taking lessons, I always have a few things that need work. Sometimes I work on my alignment. Sometimes its just rhythm. Sometimes its target focus or swing length or...

But I never go to the range "just to hit balls".
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I have the same feeling as you, Dent. All of the ranges near me are artificial mats (so I don't go to them), and the grass range at my course bores me.

Alex: that is a great idea! I'll give that a try sometime! That will really help on approach when I have 20 balls to hit from around the same distance to a target.

Thanks!
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I feel that way too. I used to like hitting for an hour or so on the range before playing a round. But now I don't hit shots consistantly on the range and all it gives me is a lack of confidence going into my round.

In fact just yesterday I was at the course ready to try the range again. When I got there, it was closed so I figured I should go out on the course to see what happens. I shot a career best 91 with nothing more than a little stretching on the first tee. No balls hit, just a couple practice swings and I was off. I'm beginning to think that I should just ditch the range altogether before playing a round.
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I feel when I'm on the range, I'm not shooting for anything.

So shoot for something.

The range has two purposes: 1) To warm up. Loosen up, see what kind of shot shape you have that day, and again, loosen up. 2) To work on something. In both cases, you should very much have a purpose. You should "shoot for something." Even if you're there goofing around (I sometimes like to see how big a hook I can hit, how low I can hit the ball with a 7-iron, how high I can hit a 3-iron, whatever). Even then I devise a plan for each shot and try to hit it.
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when my local driving range was open the price for a large bucket was like $7-$8...... my country club green fee is $6 with cart..... and the range is farther than the course..... just not worth it..... i think seriously that the only reason "I" would go to the range is for what its called a driving range..... im going to go to the range for my driver and driver only cause its really hurting my game badly....... im using long irons off all tee boxes, thats how bad
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Eh. Wish I had that problem. On the range I can tear through my clubs, hit nice, easy swing after swing. Place wedges where I want, and even hit the hit, 20 yard flops.

May be a bad case of over thinking, i had it with my driver... ugh that was awful but i've gotten my driver fixed right up and swing is going full bore!

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Alex: that is a great idea! I'll give that a try sometime! That will really help on approach when I have 20 balls to hit from around the same distance to a target.

Just make sure you pick up after yourself and fix all the divots you made on the greens. We have a situation at my course now where you might find five or six abandoned range balls or "throw aways" on any given hole on the course. Apparently people are either picking up range balls off the range and going to the course to do what Alex suggests, or just getting a bucket from the machine and taking it to the course. Since they are range balls, apparently they don't think they have to pick them up... even though they are not being used on the range. This is a real pet peeve of mine, since it can cause me to have to look through half a dozen or more abandoned golf balls to find which one is mine.

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Just make sure you pick up after yourself and fix all the divots you made on the greens. We have a situation at my course now where you might find five or six abandoned range balls or "throw aways" on any given hole on the course. Apparently people are either picking up range balls off the range and going to the course to do what Alex suggests, or just getting a bucket from the machine and taking it to the course. Since they are range balls, apparently they don't think they have to pick them up... even though they are not being used on the range. This is a real pet peeve of mine, since it can cause me to have to look through half a dozen or more abandoned golf balls to find which one is mine.

Oh, I wouldn't take range balls, I'd use my own and max i'd take out of my bag is maybe 5. Which are all Pro V's so I wouldn't want to leave them there

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Oh, I wouldn't take range balls, I'd use my own and max i'd take out of my bag is maybe 5. Which are all Pro V's so I wouldn't want to leave them there

Oh, and don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't approve of the method suggested. I do the same thing lots of times. I think a lot of people do. It just irks me to see abandoned golf balls laying all over the course, especially range balls. I used to work at the course and can imagine how I would have felt to have to drive all over the course to pick up range balls that should have never been used off the range to begin with.

I'll also do things like play a one-man scramble or play two separate balls on every hole. This allows me hit twice as many shots in less time than playing a full 18 would take. I'll usually do this if I only have a certain amount of time to play, or if it's kind of busy at the course and I'd feel like I was in the way if I hung out on just one hole for a long period of time. It also allows me to experiment on certain holes that might be giving me trouble; like hitting a driver and a 3 wood off the tee on a par five, then laying up with one shot and going for it with the other.
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Regardless of whether you strike the ball better or worse on the range, I personally don't see how anyone can get any better (other than a couple of strokes) without spending a fair amount of time on the range. I completely disagree that it is a waste of time.

If you're slicing or hooking your shots then there is something fundamentally wrong with your swing (not necessarily something major). And if you're simply playing to a slice by aiming x number of yards to the left or right of the green, you will never ever get better. The only way to improve and correct this is to spend some real time working on your swing, trying different things. Almost nobody does this on the course with the exception of maybe a shot or two, so how will you ever improve?
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