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Patch

Time On The Driving Range

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I was  at a "Celebration of Life" shin dig yesterday. A funeral for a young man, my wife, and I watched grow up. 

There was a dinner party after the funeral service at a local golf course. Chimera Golf Club in Henderson, Nevada. We were seated where we could see the driving range.

There was a young man hitting range balls at a rate of 2-3 a minute. He appeared to have pretty good golf swing from what I could tell. He had the classic reverse "C" post at the finish. About every 6th, or 7th ball he would seem disgusted, drop the club, and swing, what appeared to be a weighted club a few times. After a few swings with the weighted club, he would pick up up the dropped club, and continue hitting balls. This went on, non stop, for four+ hours. 

Unless this man was a pro at some level, this seemed pretty excessive to me. Nothing about his appearance, or equipment, suggested he was anything but a weekend warrior. . . 

He had to be in the neighborhood of hitting 600-700 balls during his session. I do however, have good thoughts about his stamina. 

I hit a basket of 80+/- balls every so often, which usually takes a little over an hour. Maybe 3 times a month.  I take my time, enjoying the moment so to speak. Hit a ball, then stand around for a bit, then hit another one. 

I have heard stories of the PGA Pros hitting balls for hours, but that's golf at it's highest level. Their job is to hit balls. 

At any rate, the young iron man on the range, got me to thinking is there limit, where too much becomes too much for the amateur? I am going to hit two, maybe three baskets next week just see what happens. I will do one basket a day for three days. 

Anyone else spend a large amount of time, full swinging on the DR? Does it help?

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I set range practice by time, not by balls. Evaluate swing on camera, think things through, make movements without ball to reinforce whatever piece instructor assigns me. Goal is to change the picture. This way of practicing is completely antithetical to the way I used to practice and the way many people do now. Not uncommon to see folks walking to stall with two buckets. I think nothing of leaving balls behind, sometimes, enough is enough.

And that's when I don't have a radar with me. I am more and more convinced that practicing with a camera and practicing deliberately (not fond of that word, vague) is the way to go. Beating balls is one way to put yourself on the path to a repetitive stress injury. If you're enjoying yourself, who am I to judge? If you want to improve though, imho, there are better ways.

Also, I think your attention span is only good for so long before you need to take a break. Too long and you start to be dangerous to yourself.

And this is off topic, and I've beat the crap out of this, but I barely still see people using cameras. In 2018.

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Tired swings create bad habits generally. After I'm warm I will start to hit balls well but sometimes I go too far and regress when fatigue sets in. Best to take a break and start again.

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Recently I’ve been basing my range sessions on goals, not time nor balls hit. I may go to the range with my swing thought in mind and say to myself “okay, while your hips are turning your left wrist will flex and help the club shallow behind you into the ball. Don’t leave until you hit 25 solid swings that produce the result you expect” and it may take an hour, it may take 20 minutes. But one thing I do constantly is monitor the pace of my swing. If I speed up too quickly the contact goes away and the swing will produce a bad result. So, I step away and rehearse the feel for about a minute or so, then take 30 seconds to “erase” the bad swing from my mind and hit another one at a slower speed.

Since I’ve done this I’ve shot my best 9 hole scores ever, so that’s saying something.

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I spend waaaay too much time on the range. When I’m off and don’t have my kids...I will be there from about 8am to 4pm. I don’t just pound balls. I focus and try to work on specific things...or just one thing often. Unfortunately I don’t always know if I’m practicing ‘correctly’. I assume not because I probably put in close if not more time on the practice tee than pros yet I still struggle. I do think fatigue sets in physically way before mentally. Due to this I’ll often be on my 5-6th large bucket and just have to figure my swing is falling apart from fatigue and force myself to just stop.

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My "range" is my back yard and adjoining field. I take the dogs out every day when I get home from work and spend between 30 mins and an hour working on a part of my game. On the weekends there is probably another hour per day.

I try to alternate what I'm working on by taking the driver and a 5w, or 4i and a 9i, or 7i and gap wedge out for that hour. I follow up on most evenings with 30 mins of putting practice. I am probably more results-based than what's recommended and I don't use a camera nearly as often as I should. But I do work on very specific pieces when I practice. I have tried a lot of different practice methods and I've seen zero evidence that any would offer better returns. Being more structured might be an exception to that belief. 

When I go out and play a round as I did today, it's easy to ask myself why I even bother to practice. I am certain there will be no real improvement in my game in years to come. The hour spent practicing could be put towards home improvements or something... anything a bit more substantial than golf. But the truth is, regardless of how bad my golf game is, it would likely be even worse If I cut back. 

A weakness that shows up on the course often follows a week of neglect during my practice time... not always but often. In no other sport I've played has a lack of practice had so much of an impact as is the case with golf.

Still, something has to give. If for no other reason, simply for my sanity. Spending that much time on something and getting no where is a bit draining.

4 hours ago, Patch said:

At any rate, the young iron man on the range, got me to thinking is there limit, where too much becomes too much for the amateur?

So yeah, for me there is a limit.

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Holy crap Vinsk!...5-6 large buckets??  Can't imagine doing that...wow!  Don't see how anyone can stand there and do that.

I always get a small bucket...60-70 balls or less.  For me, bordom would set in. I start hitting some gap wedges then a couple 8 irons, then 6 irons.  By then it's usually half the bucket.  If I'm having problems I work it out with the 8 iron.  Next a couple fw hits then the driver.  If I'm hitting that well then I'm done.  I'll either leave the rest of the balls of just hit 75 yard shots until they're gone.

If I have a major problem, I'll go back another day , same size bucket and try working it out.  I just can't hit 500 balls. 

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Honestly I just love it. It’s absolutely therapy for me. I’m usually alone with an entire practice facility to myself. In all the sports I’ve played nothing is as glorious to me as a well struck iron. I just can’t seem to carry it to the course. I’m ridiculous, I know, but playing poorly...and I mean poorly isn’t enjoyable to me at all. So I’ll warm up with a bucket....I’ll feel great hitting from rough, divots, normal lie, do some side hill pitches and then go tee off. Sure enough despite flushing my irons not 10 minutes prior...I shank my first approach shot. The rest of my holes I feel lost. Applying the same ‘feels’ I just did before tee off...gone. So I discouragingly finish and the next day I’m back for 5-8 hours on the range...300 balls and no shanks. I dunno, I just don’t know what’s it gonna take for me.

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I never go to the driving range. Give me a net and a camera and I'm good to go. All my swing improvements are made practicing indoors and outside in my net, though I haven't been able to do that as much as I'd like.

Sometimes my practice sessions last 10 minutes, sometimes up to an hour. It depends on how I'm feeling about what I'm working on as well as time constraints.

Hasn't taught me shit about aiming, though 😡

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I also LOVE hitting balls. I’m truly convinced that I could spend a full day hitting shots every day if I didn’t have to work a real job, and as long as I avoided injury.

I’m reminded of the classic Hogan quote: “You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but the truth is, I was enjoying myself. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. I'd be at the practice tee at the crack of dawn, hit balls for a few hours, then take a break and get right back to it. And I still thoroughly enjoy it. When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply—when anyone is—it's a joy that very few people experience.”

Ill of course never match Hogan’s accomplishments, but I share this exact feeling with him. 

The good news for me (and my family, and probably my game, and body) is that I work 5 days a week and have two kids under 4 years old, so I only get to play about once or twice a month, and I have to hit the range before work each weekday. My range opens at 6, and I have to be at work by 8, with a 30 minute drive. So I can practice max 1 1/2 hours a day on the weekdays. This probably keeps me from reaching burnout. But I have NEVER left the range ‘done’ with practice. Even when I was single and first starting out, and spent whole days at the course.. I l’ve always wanted to hit ‘just one more..’ (bucket!)

I feel like if I had taken up the game in my early youth, instead of my mid-20’s, who knows how far I could have gone? I definitley have the drive to spend the time on it. 

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I see some posts that mentioned cameras, and other devices used on the range. 

I am at the practice facility 4 or 5 days a week. I have done this for decades. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone using a camera to film their swings. The only cameras I see are the ones the course pro is using for his customers. Kudos to those who do. 

I see range finders, and alignment sticks being used, but never cameras. I myself, use two metal yard sticks for alingment aids. 

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15 minutes ago, sofingaw said:

I also LOVE hitting balls. I’m truly convinced that I could spend a full day hitting shots every day if I didn’t have to work a real job, and as long as I avoided injury.

I’m reminded of the classic Hogan quote: “You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but the truth is, I was enjoying myself. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. I'd be at the practice tee at the crack of dawn, hit balls for a few hours, then take a break and get right back to it. And I still thoroughly enjoy it. When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply—when anyone is—it's a joy that very few people experience.”

Ill of course never match Hogan’s accomplishments, but I share this exact feeling with him. 

The good news for me (and my family, and probably my game, and body) is that I work 5 days a week and have two kids under 4 years old, so I only get to play about once or twice a month, and I have to hit the range before work each weekday. My range opens at 6, and I have to be at work by 8, with a 30 minute drive. So I can practice max 1 1/2 hours a day on the weekdays. This probably keeps me from reaching burnout. But I have NEVER left the range ‘done’ with practice. Even when I was single and first starting out, and spent whole days at the course.. I l’ve always wanted to hit ‘just one more..’ (bucket!)

I feel like if I had taken up the game in my early youth, instead of my mid-20’s, who knows how far I could have gone? I definitley have the drive to spend the time on it. 

Pretty cool to read that. We sound very similar. I chuckle when I hear those radio commercials about how hard the pros ‘have to practice.’ If I could I’d practice sun up to sun down every day. 

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I don't go to the range as much as I would like to, just due to budget and time constraints. Usually once a week, but I also have some foam golf balls at home that are great for hitting into my fence. I love to practice, it was something I loved back in my college T&F days and something that carries over to golf now. However, I am still learning and implementing proper practice methods as historically I just mindlessly hit golf balls...obviously that strategy doesn't do much for ya after a certain point. 

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37 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Pretty cool to read that. We sound very similar. I chuckle when I hear those radio commercials about how hard the pros ‘have to practice.’ If I could I’d practice sun up to sun down every day. 

Couldn’t agree more!

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39 minutes ago, Patch said:

I see some posts that mentioned cameras, and other devices used on the range. 

I am at the practice facility 4 or 5 days a week. I have done this for decades. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone using a camera to film their swings. The only cameras I see are the ones the course pro is using for his customers. Kudos to those who do. 

I see range finders, and alignment sticks being used, but never cameras. I myself, use two metal yard sticks for alingment aids. 

Like you, I see lots of pros using iPads to record their students. I teach beginners and do it the old school way. They hit the ball just fine without me fussing with the technology.

My alignments sticks are a cheap pair of white curtain rods from Big Lots. I spray painted them fluorescent orange and I'm able to adjust the length. Works quite well.

 

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14 hours ago, Patch said:

I am at the practice facility 4 or 5 days a week. I have done this for decades. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone using a camera to film their swings. The only cameras I see are the ones the course pro is using for his customers. Kudos to those who do.

I wonder if the reason for that is that a lot of the guys who are dedicated enough to use a camera also have at-home setups.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

I wonder if the reason for that is that a lot of the guys who are dedicated enough to use a camera also have at-home setups.

That, or maybe quite a few, due to jobs, and other concerns, only do camera work on weekends. I tend to stay away from courses on weekends. Usually too crowded. 

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15 hours ago, Patch said:

I see some posts that mentioned cameras, and other devices used on the range. 

I am at the practice facility 4 or 5 days a week. I have done this for decades. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone using a camera to film their swings. The only cameras I see are the ones the course pro is using for his customers. Kudos to those who do. 

I see range finders, and alignment sticks being used, but never cameras. I myself, use two metal yard sticks for alingment aids. 

I don't always take my tripod and phone to the driving range but when I do, I'm the only one.    Most of the golfers I see at the driving range are just banging golf ball after golf ball just wanting to hit the ball far and straight.   

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