I’ve always been a bit of a “range rat.”
As much as I enjoy being on the golf course, I enjoy it much more if I know I’ve put in the work on the driving range. However, until I developed a solid driving range practice plan, it was a bit difficult to see real results.
If you want to practice more but feel like you need more direction and a clearly laid out plan, I’ve got the information you need. I’ll share with you what a typical driving range practice session looks like for me, what you need, and how long it will take.
If you don’t have the time to read my entire driving range practice plan, bookmark it and come back later (maybe when you are heading out to the range). For now, here are the key takeaways to keep in mind.
- Never practice at the range to the point of fatigue; you can have a very effective 30-minute practice session where you only hit 40 golf balls.
- Incorporate technology into your practice session to collect data and see the fastest improvement; tools like launch monitors, video analysis, and swing analyzers like HackMotion are the most effective.
- Always have a focus and a goal for your practice session; there is a difference between “hitting balls” and practicing.
- Challenges during practice are a must if you want your practice session to translate to improvement on the golf course.
- What Should I Practice at the Driving Range?
- How do You Structure a Range Session
- Final Thoughts
What Should I Practice at the Driving Range?
When you head to your driving range practice session, chances are you are thinking about working on your driver, fairway woods, hybrids, or iron. However, to be successful, you need to break down what your goals are just a little more detailed than this.
Here are some things to practice at the driving range.
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Alignment and Aim
While working at the driving range, make sure you are aiming at something.
Use alignment sticks to make sure that you have a target and that you are properly aligned to the target. I can’t tell you how many people will tell me they are hitting it left, only to find out they were aiming left.
We work too hard to hit a golf ball straight; don’t ruin it by ignoring alignment.
The better you get, the more you work on your setup.
It seems kind of backward, but great players know that the smallest intricacies in their setup can create the biggest issues in their golf game.
You must set up with your feet in the correct position, your weight properly balanced, and your spin angle correct.
When setting up properly, make sure you also take a few minutes to focus on your grip. Grip consistency plays a big part in repeating a golf swing.
Consistency in Impact Position
Does each shot that you hit feel a little different? Although you aren’t alone, this is something you want to work on while you are at the driving range.
Impact position requires that your clubface is square. If you have a hard time squaring your clubface, you will struggle to hit straight shots.
One of the best ways to work on the consistency of the impact position is to wear the HackMotion sensor for the first part of your practice session and collect some data.
Use that data to see if you are getting the proper amount of flexion in your lead wrist at impact. Although all great players have a slight variation in wrist position, the ones who are most consistent will have the most success.
Lowering Dispersion Rates
Dispersion rates refer to where the golf ball ends up in relation to the target.
Golfers with low dispersion rates may have a missed shot that still lands on the green. Golfers with high dispersion rates hit golf balls onto the next fairway, even with a 9 iron in their hands!
On the driving range, pick narrow target areas and ensure you are working on keeping your ball within these designated areas.
Driving ranges are really wide, and sometimes, until you narrow down that target zone, you can think you are hitting great shots, but on the course, they would not work out.
Hitting a Variety of Golf Shots
I’m really glad you can hit a stock 7 iron shot time and time again.
Have you ever stood behind a tree on a golf course and wished you had a shot to get yourself out and around? Now is the time to work on that type of shot.
Can you hit your 8 iron 100 yards, 120 yards, and 80 yards?
As nice as it would be if every approach shot you had was a distance you know you have, it’s not the case.
Learning to control distances takes a bit of time because you have to develop a feel and awareness of where the golf club is.
The driving range is the perfect place to do this.
Pick some targets and use the same club to hit these targets; you will learn a variety of shots that will only make you a better player in the long run.
How do You Structure a Range Session
Now that you have some ideas for what you can work on while you are at the driving range, I’ll show you how to structure a practice session.
This is the way I work on my golf game, and it has proven to be effective. It took me years to develop this practice plan, so hopefully, I’m saving you some time!
Warm Up (5-10 Minutes)
- Pitching wedge – half swing shots.
- Mid irons – 80% shots.
- Mid iron – full swing.
I warm up with my pitching wedge first to ensure I don’t strain myself during a golf practice session. I normally pick a target about 50 yards away and try to hit it.
Then I switch to something like a 7 or 8 iron and hit 80% shots for a few golf balls before transitioning into a full swing shot with a mid iron.
Once I have my full speed with a mid iron and nothing feels stiff or stuck, I can move on to the rest of the practice session.
Swing and Consistency Practice (15 minutes)
- Incorporate technology.
- Pick one specific goal or concept.
This part of the practice session is where the work gets done.
You will want to incorporate any training aids or technology into this part of your practice session. I may work on something like weight transfer or use my HackMotion to work on my wrist angles throughout my swing.
In addition, I’ll take a few videos of my swing to ensure that the concepts I’m trying to nail down are actually getting worked out.
I like putting alignment sticks down on the ground as reference points for this part of the session.
In addition, as tempting as it is to try and fix your entire game in one day, this would be a time to focus on one concept only. Work through that concept and then move on.
Sometimes, if I’m working on something a bit more difficult, this part of my practice session is extended. I don’t have to hit many golf balls; it’s just time to think, adjust, and make changes.
Practice Games and Challenges (15 minutes)
- Create a challenge or a game that resembles on-course golf conditions and situations.
- Put pressure on yourself to ensure you can carry this to the course.
Once you have put in some time working on your swing, though, it’s time for the all-around practice to make you a more accurate player.
One of my favorite golf practice games is one that I call Around the World.
Most driving ranges have a variety of targets spread out from left to right across the driving range. My goal is to hit a shot at each of these targets.
You get one ball each time, and it must land (either on the green or close). I give myself one point for each target I can hit and always try to get more than 50% of the targets. If you can do this on the range, you will end up having a much easier time doing it on the course.
There are other games where you can play a hole by hitting a drive in the fairway, followed by an approach that must hit the green. See how many “greens in regulation” and “fairway hit” you can get.
Play games with partners and friends to see who can get 5/5 golf balls to stay on the green.
There are endless opportunities; the key is that you are challenging yourself and collecting some measurable data you can use in your next practice session.
If you only get 3/10 points, your next session has a very clear goal right from the start.
Cool Down (5 Minutes)
- Hit shots with your wedge again, not focusing on distance.
I’ll never hit a big drive, put the headcover on, and walk off the range. I take some time to hit a few more half-swing wedge shots, and if I’m smart, I will also stretch a little.
The cool down can be done however you want it to, but I do recommend ending on a positive note. Hit a clean wedge shot onto a green or near a pin, and then finish your session.
Find out how mastering wrist mechanics can improve your golf swing.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about creating a driving range practice plan.
How often should I go to the driving range?
The more you play golf, the more you should be practicing your game. Head to the driving range once a week on average, but if you play several days a week, go two or three times. You don’t have to go for extended sessions, but 30 minutes is a good amount of time.
How can I make my driving range more fun?
A driving range is more fun if you are playing games and creating challenges. Pick targets and challenge yourself to hit them, then work on beating your score. Incorporating technology like HackMotion into your practice session will also make the session more interesting and let you collect data at the same time.
Should I go to the driving range every day?
If you enjoy practice, you can go to the driving range every day. However, it is not necessarily recommended for all golfers because it can be tiring.
Do I need to go to the driving range to get better at golf?
To get better at golf, you have to put time in and practice; it’s hard to do that only on the golf course or by hitting into a net. Most golfers go to a driving range because it’s convenient and gives you the space and tools necessary to get a complete practice session in.
The fact that you are headed out to practice and work on your game is a great sign. However, if you don’t have a plan in place, don’t waste your time.
Focus on the things you need to do to be successful on the golf course and bring those with you to the range. Use technology like HackMotion to ensure your practice sessions are efficient and help to bring your game to the next level.
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