When you go to the driving range (and you should) do you have a routine? Do you just hit the ball as far as you can?
This is something that works for me, try it, modify it, make it your own.
When I go to the range, if I am not working on something specific, I hit my clubs in a particular order. During this routine, I pay close attention to how far each club is going.
- I start with my pitching wedge, it is one of the heaviest clubs in your bag. It warms you up, and gets you going.
- Then move to your 6 or 7 iron.
- Next is 3 wood or a long iron.
- Only then do I start hitting my driver. This club is hard to hit. I have played a few rounds where I left the driver in the bag and only hit 3 wood off the tee. While hitting the driver I don’t focus on hitting it long, I focus on not slicing. If I can hit without slicing, then I try hitting within boundaries, see below under aiming.
- Then I move to my wedges, I usually start with my 60 degree, just to get a feel and focus on good contact.
- Finish off the bucket with chipping and pitching. I happen to use my 52 degree wedge. I pick a patch of grass, or a previously hit ball as a target and try to land the ball on it. Long (50+ yards), mid (30 yards) and short chips (under 20). This drill has really helped shave a lot of strokes off my game.
Make mental notes or even write them down. How far on average do you hit each club? Don’t keep track of your best shots, but your average. This exercise is VERY important. You really need to know how far you hit each club, it is critical to better golf.
Putt Putt or mini golf
I have found that playing Putt Putt or mini golf actually helps my putting. I have often putted best after taking the kids to play miniature golf. Give it a try and have fun with the kids too! Don’t have kids? It is a great place for a date too!
When at the range, don’t hit just to hit. Pick a target, pick an imaginary fairway and try to hit within these boundaries. You don’t realize how wide open a range can be. Have a vision of where you are aiming and don’t allow yourself to relax your standards.
I have often gone to the range and hit an entire bucket of balls with only one club. What ever club you chip with, try hitting a bucket. This will help you control your distance, and get more proficient around the green.
Work on something specifc
I have mentioned a few different ways that I practice. I sometimes go to the range just to work on shaping shots, or distance, or driving, or sand (if you are lucky to be near a range that has a practice bunker). While playing your next round, what shots are you finding most frustrating? Next time at the range, don’t just hit, practice the thing that gives you trouble.
If you aren’t lucky enough to live in an area where the weather allows you to golf year round, your first few driving range sessions, might only be to knock the rust off. Don’t have great expectations of what you can do after not swinging a club for several months. The first few times I go to the range, I try only to get the golf muscles back in shape. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t pick up where you left off!