Golf driving range – How to optimise your learning

We all spend time at our local golf driving range. We’re there because we want to get better at golf. But how should you spend your time at the golf driving range to optimise your learning? In this article I’m going to break down the perfect golf driving range routine to help you super-charge your golfing progress.

Golf driving range – set clear aims

It is very easy to just go through the motions and expect to improve your golf. However, this is not how we learn. Practice needs to be specific and suitably difficult. When you’re travelling to the golf driving range set yourself 1 – 2 clear aims for your practice session.

This might be to improve your slice, refine your distance control, or just to make contact with the dam ball. The key is to be specific. Have a clear one or two aims and shape your practice around it.

Golf driving range – how many balls should I hit?

Unless you’re a tour pro or serious amateur practicing 15+ hour a week. I would suggest 50 – 100 balls maximum. If you follow the steps in this article 50-60 balls will take you close to an hour to hit. I tend to find I hit 50 balls in the time it takes most golfers 100. However, with my method I would back myself to out-learn nearly all golfers on the range.

Golf driving range –  Part 1 – The warm up

There is still a lot of debate about how best to warm up. You can read lots around it, but the two main aims are to:

  1. Minimise the chance of injury.
  2. Prepare your body for a great practice session.

From my humble perspective I suggest a few dynamic stretches, followed by 5 to 10 warm up shots. I’ve had a search for some good examples of dynamic stretching. It took some sifting to find a a useful video, but here are three great stretches from Matt Scott for you (great video Matt)

 

Once you’ve completed these. Take a wedge or 9-iron and hit 5-10 shots.

Key point – You are not aiming to hit perfect golf shots. Don’t worry where the ball goes, this is your golf driving range warm up!

Golf driving range – Part 2 – Improve your technique

For your next 20-30 balls focus on improving one aspect of your swing that will have the biggest affect on your ball flight. Hopefully you’ve got a great golf coach who helps you build a great golf swing, and refines your swing thoughts.

However, I still feel each player should have a baseline knowledge of how their golf swing works. For your 20-30 balls focused on technique follow these steps:

Your aim with each shot is to alter the one swing principle that will improve your ball flight. If this sentence doesn’t make sense to you, and you’re wondering what a swing principle is don’t worry. Read this piece on how to be your own golf coach.

Swing principles – impact factors – ball flight

 

This is the approach we all take as golf coaches to improve your game. I think it is useful for you to have a basic grasp of the process if you wish to optimise the rate of your learning whilst you practice.

The key message is to have a clear swing thought/feeling with each shot and to understand  how the ball flight you produce is linked to the swing principle in focus.

A basic example is this – The more the club face is open to the swing path, the more my golf ball will slice. The stronger I make my left hand grip, the squarer my club face will be to my swing path, and the less the golf ball will slice.

Golf driving range – aim well

If you’re aiming to improve your swing, please make sure you’re aiming towards your target. Otherwise what is the point? Rant over…

 

All you need to do is lay down a golf club aiming 3 feet (1 metre) to the left of your target. If you wish to be really fancy you can use alignment sticks, but a club will do.

Golf driving range – make practice swings

This is possibly the greatest difference between golfers who improve and golfers who don’t.

Have 1-2 practice swings between every shot you hit at the golf driving range. With each practice swing emphasise the swing principle you’re trying to change. Embed that movement into a simple feeling you can use on your next shot. This has the fancy name of kinaesthetic learning.

Attempt to hit a golf shot with this feeling, then reflect and go through the process again. This is how you will learn how to control the golf ball and your golf swing.

Golf driving range – Part 3 – Play a skills game

With your last 20 golf balls I strongly suggest you play a skills game. I have many examples of skills games in previous posts. For a starting point you can read this piece, with three great long game skills games.

However, to simplify things even further, below is an example of a golf driving range skills game I built this week, with my friend Tom.

Tom is in the early stages of his golfing development and I wanted a simple, but great way for him to track his progress. Skills games also help you transfer your skill on to the golf course.

Golf driving range – Tom’s range challenge

Find two markers 20 yards apart, at around 100-150 yards on your golf driving range (see below).

These are rough distances, you can changes them if you wish to make the game more challenging.

Tom driving range challenge
In this game your aim is to land the shots within this funnel. Don’t worry how far they travel. It will vary with each club. As you can see you have more width as you hit the ball further (Apologies for drawing on Tom’s head).

Your aim is to hit a well struck golf shot, that lands within the funnel you have created. Give yourself 1 point for every ball that lands within this funnel. No half points here. It’s either in for a point, or it’s a miss for zero points.

Take 15 balls and try the following:

  • 3 shots with your 9 iron
  • 3 shots with your 6 iron
  • 3 shots with a hybrid/3-wood
  • 3 shots with your driver
  • 3 shots with a guest club – mix this up each practice session.

You have a potential of 15 points to score. See what you can score, then each time you return to the golf driving range aim to beat that score.

If you would like more practice ideas and a great way to track your golfing progress. Check out the Golf Insider Performance Diary

Golf driving range – Summary

So there you have it – my perfect golf driving range routine. Following this routine will really help you improve your golf.

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Happy golfing, Will @ Golf Insider

2 Replies to “Golf driving range – How to optimise your learning”

    1. Thanks for the feedback Dan,

      I hope your golf is going well. Get in touch if there are any golfing topics you would like me to write about or help you with.

      Kind regards, Will

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