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Thoughts On How To Use The Driving Range

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My tips:

  1. Use an alignment stick/club and aim at a target. Nothing worse than hitting 10 balls right of your target only to find out that's exactly where you were lined up. Little changes in setup tend to creep into your game over time so using an alignment aid helps keep you on track. Go to any PGA tour event and watch the guys on the range - everyone uses an alignment aid.
  2. Don't rake & hit balls. Reset each time and go through your routine. This will give you a little time between shots and help simulate what's going to happen on the course.
  3. Like others have said, play golf on the range. Hit driver, hybrid, wedge to simulate a par5. I think the main reason people can't take their range game to the course is because at the range they hit twenty 7 irons in a row and groove that swing. But on the course you're never going to hit the same club 20 times in a row (I hope!).
  4. Understand the difference between a pre-round warm up and practice. For me, before a round is just a warm up to get loose and see how I'm hitting that day. If my 5 yard draw is now a 10 yard draw today, I'm not trying to fix it. I'm going to play with what I've got today and do my best. Practice is when you go to the range to work on some aspect of your game - driver, full swing, drills, etc. I see too many people who only "practice" before a round. You're never going to fix your issue 15 minutes before you tee off. And tinkering with your swing right before a round is a really great way to have a horrible day on the course. 

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On 3/30/2018 at 7:54 AM, HJJ003 said:

The issue I run into the range is staying focused when I don’t have “it”. For example...I go to the range to work on hit long irons and maybe trying to do the gate drill or something. However, a few swings in I am topping or duffing almost every shot and just get frustrated and start searching for causes and fixes...any advice on how to handle those days at the range?

Been there, done that. When I have one of those "just don't have it" range days, I don't make it worse by continuing on. Sometimes I switch, and do short game shots, chips, and pitches towards the nearest flag. Other times, I just give the basket of remaining balls to someone else, and head to the 19th.

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7 hours ago, 1puttit said:

My tips:

  1. Use an alignment stick/club and aim at a target. Nothing worse than hitting 10 balls right of your target only to find out that's exactly where you were lined up. Little changes in setup tend to creep into your game over time so using an alignment aid helps keep you on track. Go to any PGA tour event and watch the guys on the range - everyone uses an alignment aid.
  2. Don't rake & hit balls. Reset each time and go through your routine. This will give you a little time between shots and help simulate what's going to happen on the course.
  3. Like others have said, play golf on the range. Hit driver, hybrid, wedge to simulate a par5. I think the main reason people can't take their range game to the course is because at the range they hit twenty 7 irons in a row and groove that swing. But on the course you're never going to hit the same club 20 times in a row (I hope!).
  4. Understand the difference between a pre-round warm up and practice. For me, before a round is just a warm up to get loose and see how I'm hitting that day. If my 5 yard draw is now a 10 yard draw today, I'm not trying to fix it. I'm going to play with what I've got today and do my best. Practice is when you go to the range to work on some aspect of your game - driver, full swing, drills, etc. I see too many people who only "practice" before a round. You're never going to fix your issue 15 minutes before you tee off. And tinkering with your swing right before a round is a really great way to have a horrible day on the course. 

I agree with this.

Another thing you can do, if you have a glaring weakness, work on that. For instance, if you struggle from 50-75 yards. Spend say 15-20 balls working on that. Don't just beat balls though. Work on one specific thing that day. If your having trouble with the move from A1 to A2 say just swing to A2 and chip the ball. Things like that. Small successes.

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I read many years ago that if you are playing well, go play. When you stop playing well, go to the range. Work on your big miss. Review grip, stance, alignment and ball position. Always have a target. Take plenty of time between shots, that's how it will be on the course.I can take well over an hour to hit a small bucket.

I don't trust the yardage markers on ranges either. There's one close to me that's kind of a self serve deal. Early in the year you hit off of mats that are at the very back of the teeing area, which is easily 30 yards deep. Once the turf firms up you move all the way to the front. They never move the yardage signs!

Sometimes I'll play a little game out there. I'll imagine I'm on a local course and hit clubs accordingly. OK, #1 is a 365 yard dog leg right par 4. I'll hit Driver and depending on how it goes decide what club I need for my "second" shot. If I "miss" left or right, I'll have a pitch or a chip shot.

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I dont have a laser so never use the range for distances.

Personally use it to simulate golf rounds/minigames/ball flight and dispersion range.

I will often do various changes of driver/7i/driver/5i/driver/wedge.

I will do 5 straight driver shots and try to keep all 5 in an imagined fairway/rough.

With almost all of this, I am powdering my face to see ball contact.

I also use alignment sticks on the ground in relation to starting direction.

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I hit a few balls today at the range. A guy gave me a partial basket as I was walking off the practice green.  

All I had was my putter, and my AW. Guess which one hit the ball farther?

While I was there, the guy came out to collect the empty baskets. I ask him what that striped pole at the other end of the range was. He told me it was the 400 yard marker. I asked him what they used it for? :-P He wasn't impressed. 

The putter, off the tee.........

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As Marty2019 said above, I never use a range to try and calculate distance. My range hasn't changed their balls out in years, they are old, dirty and no dimples left on them, seriously. We've talked to the management and they say new ball are coming but they never do. I use the range for proper ball striking and accuracy. Ball striking is difficult because we are hitting off of mats, not grass. Sometimes I even wonder why I bother other than getting out there and working on grip, swing and accuracy. 

Another range I go to in the summertime has better balls but you hit off a hill down a good size slope. That really makes it hard to calculate distance. They have flags which they say the yardage is adjusted for the slope but I haven't figured that out yet. I guess they mean the 120 yard flag is actually a 130 yard distance or have I got that backward?

Anyway, as you can tell I'm not that thrilled with any of the ranges by me for a variety of reasons.

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