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Is the driving range a waste of time?


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If you use the tee and landing area as a driving range, yes, it's a waste of time.

If you use the area as a practice range, the activity can really help your game.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great discussion. I spend 1:1 time at range and on course. So on this same note, I'm wondering about a practice NET. I love the idea of practicing in the backyard, however, I can't see where the ball goes, how much spin, trajectory, distance, etc.

So, is a hitting net a good or bad idea, or maybe just for specific uses/clubs/shots?

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I'm not sold on practicing into a net. I need to see where the ball is going to know what I did. If I had money I'd get a GC2 and projector. But I don't. So I need to rely on a heated driving range in the winter.

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I'm not sold on practicing into a net. I need to see where the ball is going to know what I did. If I had money I'd get a GC2 and projector. But I don't. So I need to rely on a heated driving range in the winter.

Why? As long as you're using a good camera with your net session, you can see everything you need to in your swing. After you've been doing a certain piece for a while, you develop an awareness for what you're working on and you don't need the camera as much. If you're focusing on the ballflight too much it becomes easy to lose sight of what the point of practice is: to change the picture.

Would I love to have a fancy launch monitor? You bet. Do I need one to practice with? No.

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I have been so little to the range this year. Because of my work and distance involved getting to one. Since having a net I practice in it all the time.The other benefit is the amount of time I now spend with my wedges at home and the putter. The range seems to make me want to hit it further. Just having those big numbers out there sucks you in. Also the mats are different from hitting of grass at home.Really would love a big open field where I could hit into rather a range. It does have it's benefits but I have worked around the problem of practice with my current set up.
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I have attempted to learn to hit fades and draws with a seven iron this year on the range.  It has been very helpful, but sometimes under pressure I don't execute the shot when on the course.  More practice is needed.  I hit into my net to work on tempo and finishing the swing.  Under pressure I tend to not finish the swing and have a quick tempo.

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I go to the range when I can't afford the golf course

I would never do that. A large bucket of balls is about $10 where I live. If I really shop around I can find a $20 game at twilight, The range is for practice but I never think of it as the same entertainment value I get with 3 friends on the course.

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If your just going there just to beat balls then the range for the most part is a waste, too many people think everyones watching so they rarely work on the weaker parts of their game that can eventually lower scores, I rarely even hit driver just so I don't wear myself down, the vast majority of my shots are in the 100-125 range since this seems to be the most common approach yardage I face, then it's 50-100 yards and always shooting at a target never just pounding balls with no objective.

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I find the range valuable ... I just wish I would trust my "range swing" ... on the range I am never worried about hitting a house, going OB, or in the water .. ironically when I get on the course I am afraid to shoot the score I eventually end up shooting, so I might as well trust it ... its a transition and I am getting better at it.
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The driving range is not a waste of time. However, there is a lot of time wasted on the driving range.  If you want to play this game well, 75 percent of the balls you hit should be with wedges in your hand. pitching, gap, sand, and lob.  You must know exactly how far each will go using 4 different back swing lengths.  Using your hands as the back swing distance indicator, the 4 are, pocket high, belt high, halfway between belt and shoulder, and shoulder.  Bear in mind, these are easy gentle swings.  Once you learn this and can do them each time, you can dial in wedge shots and pitch shots that will land within a yard of each other.  Just make a log of how far each back swing goes with each club.  Once you have this, on the course you get the yardage to the hole, look at your book to see what club and back swing you need to land the ball and roll out close to the hole.  You will find overlaps in the distance between wedges.  This is good. It will allow you to asses what type of shot you need.  Just pick the club for a higher flight and softer landing for a front pin or maybe a club that has a swing that will cover the same yardage for a lower shot that rolls out more for a back pin placement.  You dont score with Drivers and 4 irons, you score with wedges and putters.

Driving range, I hit 5 balls with a nine iron to get lose.  5 balls with a 7 iron, 5 balls with a 4 iron 5 balls with a fairway wood, and 5 with a driver.  The other 75 are wedges.  I then go to the putting green and hit 10 putts from 3 feet in a circle around a hole and 10 putts around 20 feet with a goal of being inside a 2 foot circle of the hole.  This gives you a good indicator of green speeds.

I personally use Jack Kuykendall's E square swing and am a certified instructor.  My handicap varies from -2 to +1 with my lowest scores a 64 and a 61. You can verify this on his website.

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Range is great for drills, integrating new pieces of your swing, finding your internal clock for a swing.

The last piece, when I'm working on a swing, is putting it together with rhythm and tempo.


Giving yourself no rush confidence.

On the course, it's all visualization, rhythm and tempo, positive talk.

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My thoughts on why people think this:

  • You're in public and that changes the way people behave. Imho, you get a better quality practice session devoid of distractions.
  • Mats mask fat shots. Not one range ever I've been to posted warnings. I agree works against business interests, I have no solution to this. Corollary, typical ranges just don't simulate the course closely enough - mats, short game areas, putting greens.
  • Lack of good info distributed to people on how to practice effectively.
  • Lots of bad info going around on ranges. Holy Toledo, lots.
  • Domes, charging by hour that encourage rapid fire practice.
  • Golf is hard.

My pet peeve which is very minor, in general, difficulty in getting a decent face on camera view.

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@Rich1212, this is a great routine... for you. But I was struggling last year to even enjoy the game anymore, spending most my time just ball hunting. So my past 2 year range routine has been focused on clubs that get me in remote vicinity of the green. Now I can enjoy a round and focus on scoring. I rarely ever keep score btw, just determine my relativity to par and keep a proper score occasionally. I do keep a mental log of really good shots and work toward making them repeatable. P.s. there are other people there? ;) P.p.s. I never use mats, haven't seen any on the course so...
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