‘What should I practice at the driving range?’ – this is one of the most common questions I get asked as a coach by club golfers. Along with ‘How can I hit it as far as Bryson?’ and ‘How can I get more backspin?’. Anyway, we’ll stick to the first question.
In this article, I share my favourite driving range practice plan. There are many ways to refine and adapt this plan to better suit golfers with detailed stats. However, if you have one range session a week, and you don’t know what to do, this is a great place to start.
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Download & save your driving practice plan
I want to make this plan as simple and as useful as possible. So below is a picture of the practice plan, click it to expand it and save it to your phone as a picture. If you prefer, the button below the plan will take you to a .pdf to download and print out (higher resolution).
Golfers – use it, share it as much as you like. Any fellow golf coaches feel free to use it too, I always appreciate a quick message just to ask first but it’s always a yes.
Driving range practice plan
Download a pdf version below. This will provide better quality for printing.
Using this practice plan
You’ll need to make slight adaptations based on your range facilities. Once you have a setup that works at your golf range, try to keep your targets the same each time so you can track your scores and progress. Below are some footnotes to help you get the most out of this session.
Your aim with the first 10 balls is to loosen up, not to hit perfect golf shots. Even tour pros have been known to hit the odd top or shank in their warm-up. Focus on warming up, care very little where the golf ball goes. And if you want a more detailed guide on golf stretches check out this link.
Ideally, you have a simple swing thought or feeling to work on. Spend 20 balls working on this feeling with one or two clubs. Make practice swings, exaggerate feelings, use training aids, just be clear on what you are working on, and the ball flight that represents good/poor execution.
In this range session, you have one approach-play skills game and one focusing on getting the ball in play off the tee – these are the core aspects needed in your long game. If you want to know more on why these have been selected and more key areas to practice check out our recent article what should I practice?
Expectation vs ambition
I am well aware that ‘hitting the flagstick is not realistic, not even for most elite players, but that is the aim of golf. Here, try to disassociate your ambition from expectation. If you are a 22 handicapper, aim to hit the flagstick or range sign with each shot, but be very happy if you score 4-6 points through this entire skills game.
The ambition and clear feedback from this approach should help you progress in the most effective way over time.
Reflection is a core attribute of any successful athlete. Taking 2-3 minutes at the end of your practice to write down what you did well, what swing thoughts worked and what you need to do next time will save you hours of practice in the long run.
Just do it, make it a habit.
How many balls should you hit at the driving range?
A productive range session normally has 40 to 90 balls. The range session outlined above takes 80 golf balls to complete. If this is more than you are used to just take out some targets or clubs from the skill challenges.
What is a good golf practice schedule?
A good golf practice schedule covers the core skills needed to play well and focuses on one or two areas you want to improve. For broader practice schedules check out this article on golf practice routines.
How many hours a week should I practice golf?
Most golfers can keep improving with one 18 hole game a week and one or two practice sessions, if these practice sessions are effective.
More play and practice gives you the potential to improve quicker, but I tend to see a trend where the more time a golfer puts into their practice, the less effective they are with their time.
How often should a beginner go to the driving range?
A beginner can go to the range every day if they wish. I would suggest one range session a week will help a beginner get better and two range sessions a week will really accelerate their progression.
That wraps up this article sharing my favourite driving range practice session. These range sessions can be enhanced if you have stats on how you play golf and where your misses are. However, the plan above is a great place for most golfers to start.
Try completing this range session once or twice a week for four to six weeks, then let me know if it has helped you shoot lower scores. Here is a link to our Performance Diary if you’d like to track your sessions in a journal and click here if you’d like to join the email list.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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