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Is the driving range a waste of time?


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I like the practice round and the range. I'm lucky to have a course that is generally not busy in the evening so I can drop 5 balls on work on a certain distance, lie or shot type (ie. pitch shot into a green that slopes away). Working on swing mechanics and drills are best at the range imo.

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Is a batting cage a waste of time? Is returning the serve from a tennis ball thrower a waste of time? Is it a waste of time to punch a heavy bag? No. It's not the same as the real thing, but it

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 you

I'm guessing OP has never video taped his swing at the range. I freaking love doing that. I really honestly dislike hitting balls without trying to improve a piece in my swing. Unless you are Grant Waite swing geometry wise, there is always something you can improve on

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My experience is that I'll "find it" on the range, but by the fourth hole, it's business as usual. I want to play golf, not golf swing. But when you hit 2 or 3 dead left, you tend to want to"figure out why". Then it's back to the drawing board....
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Originally Posted by chico713

My experience is that I'll "find it" on the range, but by the fourth hole, it's business as usual. I want to play golf, not golf swing. But when you hit 2 or 3 dead left, you tend to want to"figure out why". Then it's back to the drawing board....

Its likely you are not "finding it." Everyone can hit numerous balls dead straight. Hell I can do it all the time and I'm disgusted if I'm not performing what I'm working on correctly (I know this due to video taping my swing). I am that way because I know it will not translate short or long term until I fully ingrain good habits and good mechanics.

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Originally Posted by chico713

My experience is that I'll "find it" on the range, but by the fourth hole, it's business as usual. I want to play golf, not golf swing. But when you hit 2 or 3 dead left, you tend to want to"figure out why". Then it's back to the drawing board....

I play golf. But since I want to play golf really well, or better, I WORK (and enjoy it) on the range.

You, seemingly, just whack balls, looking for a quick fix or something.

That's fine if that's all you want, but it's not how you improve.

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I don't think practicing is ever a waste of time.  Unless the time you spend on it isn't serious.  Will it be exactly like playing 18, no, but their are a lot of different things you can work on.  Sometimes when I am at the range I will change clubs every shot.  This way it is slightly more realistic.

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I'll echo what everyone has been saying. It's not a waste of time unless you're doing it wrong.
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Ask any hacker @ the course  and they will tell you so - that's why there hackers ! For me I like at least 1 range session for ea round played. If you can't hit a PW on target @100 yrds @ the range you can't do it on the course.You need to know your equipment. Having said that, I see most people getting extra lrg buckets & just beating themselves silly. I like to hit less than 50 shots & practice my mechanics. And unlike most, I like the feedback from the mats hitting my irons.

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Originally Posted by chico713

My experience is that I'll "find it" on the range, but by the fourth hole, it's business as usual. I want to play golf, not golf swing. But when you hit 2 or 3 dead left, you tend to want to"figure out why". Then it's back to the drawing board....

You probably haven't found anything. To have a repeatable swing that you can trust, especially under pressure, you have to work at it. You work at it on the practice range. Its literally impossible to hit enough balls playing golf on the course to build a repeatable swing. You have some choices, if you don't like to practice then don't; but its very unlikely you will ever be very good. Or, you can learn to practice and even enjoy it. Practicing is the only way to improve.

Originally Posted by chico713

Are you improving? Are your scores lower than they were a year, two years, 5 years ago?

Yes, I have improved. Where I see it the most is in my really low scores. My average day at the course has remained about the same for the last 5 or so years as has my handicap, but my good scores have gotten better each year. I shot 66 four times last year and 65 once. 65 is my all time lowest round. 5 years ago my handicap was about the same but 68 or 67 was my all time low.

At this point a lot of my practice is maintenance. As a scratch player if I don't put in the practice I will not stay scratch for too long. Do you know what they call a scratch player who never practices? A 2 handicap.

Practicing and hitting a ton of golf balls is what got me to the point where I am now. I wasn't born a scratch golfer, heck I didn't really even pick up a golf club until my early 20's. My first handicap was between 15-19.

I actually like to practice. I am always looking for that little edge that one thing that will help lower my scores.

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  • 1 year later...
The range is one of my favorite paces to be.  I try to go with a plan, something definite to work on, especially if I found a problem on my last trip to either the course or the range.  I can't often spare the 5 plus hours for a round but a couple of hours at the range, hitting balls at my own pace and varying my shots, can be both productive and, for me, relaxing.  Recently I've had a problem with consistency in where I strike the ball with my irons.  For me the best place to fix any swing problem isn't on the course but on the range where I can work toward a solution at a better pace and with more balls than I can on the course.


+1.

Without range practice, I can't see my golf game improving.   To keep it interesting & effective, I do many different things.   I focus on what didn't work in the weekend's rounds.   My range has simulated green areas which I try to hit to.   I play a simulated round time to time - need some imagination and need to know a course inside and out.  I will hit 10 balls each for wedge, iron, hybrid, wood, and driver and keep track of the percentage of  "good" shots for each club.   I will work on hitting 60 yard pitching, trying to land it within 10 feet of target.    I will practice certain sand shots, 20 yard chip putt with 7i, ...., repeatedly to get it right.   When playing a round, I am focusing on having fun, and getting the best score I can with all that range (and home) practice. :beer:

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As I read the thread title I am reminded of the cliché "practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect". So if you go to the range and unthinkingly just beat up on balls you won't get much good out of the practice time.  You have to have some specific goals for your practice.  What the goals are is probably less important than having a goal or goals you wish to accomplish.  Here lately I have been spending about a third of my practice on mechanics of keeping the club above the plane and having/executing a pre-shot routine.  That's because on the course I tend to get a little "flat" with my swing and I tend to get in a hurry up mode for some reason.  Then I spend maybe half of my time on "trust the swing" mode that you need to play golf on the course.  I like to play a game of "threes".  I start with either the SW or PW and pick a target.  Take three balls out of the bucket and hit them to the target using my "trust the swing" mode.  if I put 2 or 3 "on target", I move up to either the 9 or 8 iron, if not I hit 3 more balls to the target. I work my way through the even or odd clubs this way.  On a good day it doesn't take too long, on a really bad day I need a second bucket.  But unless I run out of time or energy (I am old) I finish the routine.  Last I go to the short range and practice either pitching or chipping.  I do the game of threes again only for the short game and I don't use a club longer than the 7 iron for chipping nor a club larger than the 9 iron for pitching.

Well anyway my point is if you just mindlessly bang balls at the range then you're probably wasting your time.  If, on the other hand, you try to set up a game of consequences on the range and you have some specific goal (like not use more than 24 balls to get through your bag in the game of threes)  you can probably accomplish some improvement on the course.

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  • 3 months later...

NEVER a waste

think of it as a massage that takes the kinks out of all those muscle knots that playing in water, among the trees and social distractions created on the course that is bringing gremlins into your game

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As I read the thread title I am reminded of the cliché "practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect". So if you go to the range and unthinkingly just beat up on balls you won't get much good out of the practice time.  You have to have some specific goals for your practice.  What the goals are is probably less important than having a goal or goals you wish to accomplish.  Here lately I have been spending about a third of my practice on mechanics of keeping the club above the plane and having/executing a pre-shot routine.  That's because on the course I tend to get a little "flat" with my swing and I tend to get in a hurry up mode for some reason.  Then I spend maybe half of my time on "trust the swing" mode that you need to play golf on the course.  I like to play a game of "threes".  I start with either the SW or PW and pick a target.  Take three balls out of the bucket and hit them to the target using my "trust the swing" mode.  if I put 2 or 3 "on target", I move up to either the 9 or 8 iron, if not I hit 3 more balls to the target. I work my way through the even or odd clubs this way.  On a good day it doesn't take too long, on a really bad day I need a second bucket.  But unless I run out of time or energy (I am old) I finish the routine.  Last I go to the short range and practice either pitching or chipping.  I do the game of threes again only for the short game and I don't use a club longer than the 7 iron for chipping nor a club larger than the 9 iron for pitching.   Well anyway my point is if you just mindlessly bang balls at the range then you're probably wasting your time.  If, on the other hand, you try to set up a game of consequences on the range and you have some specific goal (like not use more than 24 balls to get through your bag in the game of threes)  you can probably accomplish some improvement on the course.

I like that. Practice with good intention.

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My dad taught me a game called "Worst ball" which I'm sure you guys know. After a range session me and my dad will go to a 9 hole course and play a game of worst ball. it helps me understand course management as well as knowing which shots I can play. as to your question, no the driving range is not useless.
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I enjoy the range. For me i go for 2 reasons. to practice and maintain my swing or to engrain new things and sometimes simply to hit balls. Many of us will find that at times we dont have time for even 9 holes so an hour at the range just scratches the golf itch.

At my club they also have a small academy course that you can hit from one end to the other with 9 iron. Thing is i prefer the range as i always seem to pull out of my shots on the practice course in case  i get a flyer and hit it into the road.

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The problem around here is ranges cost 10-12 bucks a bucket, and i can go play a twilight 9 for the same price. Why wouldn't I just play golf for the same price?

I'm not going to Q school anytime soon, but my scores are improving.

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