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Range Golfer vs Course Golfer: Who Wins?

Range vs Course: Who Wins?  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Two golfers playing off the same single digit handicap, one golfer uses ONLY the driving range and putting/chipping green for one year, one hour a day. The other plays your average golf course for one year, 2 hours a day (so mostly 9 holes) Both meet up and play a brand new course at the end of the year. Who Wins?

    • Range Golfer
      7
    • Course Golfer
      17


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Two golfers playing off the same single digit handicap, one golfer uses ONLY the driving range and putting/chipping green for one year, one hour a day. The other plays your average golf course for one year, 2 hours a day (so mostly 9 holes) Both meet up and play a brand new course at the end of the year. Who Wins?  

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They both have the same handicap. They both had to play courses to get to the same handicap. The winner would be who plays the better round when they finally meet up. 

(You can't get a handicap just by practicing)

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I think I told this story on here before, but I got it from some old, musty golf book. the setting I believe was in the 1950's at the (British) Open: A golfer from Japan moves from the range to the first tee and to hit a great drive.  He then proceeds to duff his subsequent shots from the fairway, one after the other until such time the officials remove him from the course. It seems that he was a golf "professional" at a driving range in Japan and had never hit off of natural grass ever in his life.

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2 hours ago, Patch said:

They both have the same handicap. They both had to play courses to get to the same handicap. The winner would be who plays the better round when they finally meet up. 

(You can't get a handicap just by practicing)

This.

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They both go to the range....who hits the ball better?

Seriously, @Patch answered this I believe.

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It sounds like this question being asked is: do you improve more at the range, or on the course?  Current answers so far have dodged the question by referring to the handicap, but I believe the handicap mentioned here refers to before the year of practice occurred.  Also, to Carl3's comment, we could also assume that the practice facility has natural grass, which would mitigate that specific case.

I don't know the answer myself, and I am terrible at the game and am not in any position to given advice, but I would think the optimal improvement involves both the range and the course.

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Range work doesn't always translate directly to the course. On the range everything is off of flat ground, basically perfect lie. Course work you learn more about how to play downhill/uphill/sidehill shots. That said, swing changes really should be worked on at the range. There is not really a set answer to this question as both parts are needed. I would lean towards the person who played the course constantly having the advantage *all other things held equal* just through course knowledge if pushed to make an answer at gunpoint.

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18 minutes ago, Effington said:

I believe the handicap mentioned here refers to before the year of practice occurred

Right. The point is they are starting at the same spot.Since they both have single digit caps, both obviously know something about it.

Unless range boy has one hell of a practice facility and does stuff off some weird lies, sand, rough, etc., it's advantage course player.

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Although I'm largely with @Patch that it would be a toss-up,  based on both players having a lot of prior playing experience, I do think the course golfer would have the edge. 

A year is a long time for a golfer not to get to have the feedback of playing real shots.

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If I knew I was able to golf on the course every day for 2 hours, some of those days would be working on improvements in my swing, so practice rounds essentially.

I would be on the course playing multiple shots from different lies in the practice rounds, working on specific swing thoughts. I might not be able to improve my swing from a technical standpoint as much as the person that spent a year at the range, but having ~180 full 18 hole rounds under my belt in the year would give me such an advantage compared to someone who spent the year practicing on a range without really knowing how their game would translate to the course.

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7 hours ago, Patch said:

They both have the same handicap. They both had to play courses to get to the same handicap. The winner would be who plays the better round when they finally meet up. 

(You can't get a handicap just by practicing)

I guess what I should have said was both golfers at an equal spot in their game before the year starts. At the end of the year could be a different scenario.

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The Range Golfer wins easily, if he uses his practice time even remotely properly. He can improve the most.

 Look at the Korean girls that we see who literally don't play a golf course until they've spent maybe 100 hours or 1000 hours or whatever on the range. They shoot some pretty startling scores their first time out.

I'm in the minority, I see, but I feel pretty strongly about this, and think that golfers consistently over-rate the value of being on the course. Look at what PGA Tour players do - they learn the golf course on the course during practice rounds, hit a few chips from different places… but they aren't practicing or improving. They do that on the range.

Additionally, I typically play some of my absolute best golf of the year in the spring… after being inside "on the range" all winter.

9 hours ago, Patch said:

They both have the same handicap. They both had to play courses to get to the same handicap. The winner would be who plays the better round when they finally meet up.

Pretty sure he's saying that you have, for example, two 7.5 index golfers. For a year, they do different things, and then play a course at the end of the year.

3 hours ago, mcanadiens said:

Unless range boy has one hell of a practice facility and does stuff off some weird lies, sand, rough, etc., it's advantage course player.

You don't need much of a range. Hell, I could make the case that a guy practicing indoors into a net for a year would improve more and shoot better scores. A range, some sticks, a half-way decent short game area… you can be just fine.

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Proper practicing, and I would add being able to play different lies, would give the range golfer the advantage because his swing would improve. The course golfer would not improve his swing and would only have the experience of one course. 

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

The Range Golfer wins easily, if he uses his practice time even remotely properly. He can improve the most.

 Look at the Korean girls that we see who literally don't play a golf course until they've spent maybe 100 hours or 1000 hours or whatever on the range. They shoot some pretty startling scores their first time out.

I'm in the minority, I see, but I feel pretty strongly about this, and think that golfers consistently over-rate the value of being on the course. Look at what PGA Tour players do - they learn the golf course on the course during practice rounds, hit a few chips from different places… but they aren't practicing or improving. They do that on the range.

I do agree with your statement on this topic where you said the range golfer can improve the most, but this specific scenario asks who would win in a single round after the respective years, not necessarily who would be the better golfer at the end of the year. 

In the other topic you seemed to state how important playing on a course is and the value that it can add to your game that you cant get from just practicing on the range. 

The quotes below from that topic especially confuse me.

On 3/20/2014 at 1:19 PM, iacas said:

Unfortunately, as one's golf knowledge increases, one tends to spend a whole lot more time on the range trying to make the perfect swing, and fix those last seventeen little things that annoy them.

Then these guys venture onto the course, where they promptly lose to a guy whose swing is all over the place, but who plays a lot of golf. (And quite likely, their reaction is to blame those 17 last things and to go back to the range to fix them so they can seek revenge in three months when they finally get out on the golf course again…)...

You don't play golf on the range. The range is not where you get to see the results of your hard work. The range is not where you learn how to get around the golf course .

 

 

Edited by klineka

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2 minutes ago, klineka said:

I do agree with your statement on this topic where you said the range golfer can improve the most, but this specific scenario asks who would win in a single round after the respective years, not necessarily who would be the better golfer at the end of the year. 

The better golfer will win the match the match more often.

2 minutes ago, klineka said:

In the other topic you seemed to state how important playing on a course is and the value that it can add to your game that you cant get from just practicing on the range.

That topic doesn't disagree with anything I've said here. I've said that playing golf is a form of practice, too, and that you can practice on the golf course as well.

It also says:

On 3/20/2014 at 1:19 PM, iacas said:

P.S. This mini rant inspired by people who worry way too much about how their swing looks and not the number they're writing down on their scorecards… as well as those who haven't had to write a number down on a scorecard in weeks or months because they never leave the range.

At the time, I was seeing a whole lot of people spending a whole lot of time practicing and yet never posting about what scores they'd shoot. When I can play, I try to play, and I practice a lot too.

This topic isn't about having a perfect mixture. This topic confines people to two extremes: all range or all course. The real world doesn't, and that topic is directed at people who were - without the constraints of this topic/poll - constraining themselves to almost the extreme, or about 90% range, 10% course.

Doing either of those two things exclusively is sub-optimal to a good mixture. So put another way, the topic you linked to encourages players to get a good mixture, not to just spend time on the range.


Back to the original topic, just think about it…

On the course, you can hit, what, 40 shots (and four or five of those are tap-ins) per day. On the range, or short game area, you can hit 40 putts in 10 or 15 minutes.

You can practice from sidehill lies. You can simulate having some pressure. You can put a stick out to pretend it's a tree and work the ball around it. You can do a lot of "on-course type" stuff.

Again, ideally, a player has a good mixture.

But given the two extremes, I'll take the range guy all the time. He'll be the better golfer. Just as I am in the spring, and a lot of our students are in the spring.

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I voted for the range golfer because I am (was) one. This year I’ve been playing more and practicing less and while I feel like I’m a better golfer my scores don’t show it. I’m either hot or cold. 

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I voted for the guy who plays everyday. Here's my thinking:

- Most golfers, even single digit handicaps, aren't great at practicing. There typically isn't a lot of "training" for the course going on.
- Yes the range golfer might have his stock swing more grooved but I think the seriously lack of "course time" would be a disadvantage. There's playing golf and then there's making swings on the range without anything on the line.
- The course golfer is going to have a better understanding of the ebbs and flows of a round, grinding it out, figuring out how to get it around with their "B" game.
- I voted course golfer since the match is playing golf and I'd want the guy that is most accustomed to playing golf.

Now if you said the range golfer was good at practicing, practiced different shots, multiple lies, worked on their stock swing and a backup swing, hit shots with consequences (Francisco Molinari stuff) and mixed it in with mechanics improvement, then that might be a different story. 

So it got me thinking if I was in either one of these scenarios. From my own experience, when I was mostly a range rat and hardly played I was basically a 2-3 handicap. Then started playing 2-3 times a week and my handicap has gotten back to where it was in college (when I was also playing a lot). Obviously there is a good combo of practice and course time with all that. If I was to just play and not practice my handicap would slowly creep up there and probably plateau in the 3-4 range. So if the match was against range rat mvmac vs course only mvmac I would favor range mvmac 😀 But like I said when I first read the post I was thinking of what I've typically seen from single digit golfers "practicing".

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