Finally ready to take your game to the next level?
The driving range is a great option, but you must spend your time wisely.
Simply hitting 7 iron after 7 iron or driver after driver, might not get you the results you want. Ultimately, golfers seek consistency and the ability to produce the shots needed when it matters the most.
When we are working with our students, we promote three basic fundamentals or skills that golfers need to be successful. They include the following
- The ability to control the low point of the golf swing. (Impacts the quality of the strike)
- The ability to control the start line and the curve of the ball.
- The ability to have enough speed to play the course.
We build our range sessions utilizing the drills below to help our golfers improve in one of these three areas as we do believe they are the foundation of golf. If you can strike the ball solid (fundamental #1), send it on a certain target line and do not over curve it (fundamental #2) and have enough speed to play the course (fundamental #3) you are on your way to playing quality golf.
Of course you need a quality short game, but that is for another day. For today, let’s focus on what we can do at the range to improve our game and lower our scores!
Golf Drills For The Range
#1: Limited Stock Practice
There is a time and place for some stock practice. This is where you are hitting multiple shots with the same club in a row, however, it shouldn’t be your entire range session. The goal isn’t to hit 10 7 irons in a row, and then 10 6 irons in a row and then 10 5 irons in a row. Instead, you can use stock practice to warm up or work on a swing change, but if you are preparing for a round of golf the next day, you are better off working on different drills.
#2: Low Point Control Drill
- Take some yard paint and paint a 1-2 yard long line if you are in the grass area.
- Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
- Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
- Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to to this successfully in trials of ten.
- You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.
If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keep your head still to help control the low point in the swing.
#3: Stock Shot Drill
- Set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
- If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 2-3 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
- Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target. Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
- The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.
Here is the drill being explained by Kyle Morris:
The combination of solid contact (low point control drill) and the ability to hit a stock shot (consistent curve) is the first step in building consistency in your golf game.
#4: Simulate the Course (My Favorite Drill)
My number one go to game, whether I am by myself at the driving range or with a friend, is to simulate a course that you have played or would love to play. Here is how it works: you start at the first hole and let’s say it is a 405 yard par 4 with a hazard to the left at 220 yards, but a slight bailout area to the right.
Set the parameters with different markers out on the driving range. Go through your pre-shot routine and see if you can hit the targeted area you are trying to hit. Based on that drive, let’s say you have 165 left to the green. Pull the appropriate club, set the target with some parameters and go ahead and make that shot as well.
Keep track of how many times you can hit your targeted area. Over time track your progress and see if you are getting better during your practice rounds.
This game is a great way to prepare for a round of golf the week leading up to a tournament or even the day of to help bring the power of visualization and help yourself feel comfortable that you have hit the shots many times before the actual tournament.
Standing and hitting at a driving range that is 150 yards wide probably will not bring the pressure that you need to prepare for the round, but mark something as out of bounds that may appear on the course and all of a sudden it seems a bit more real.
#5: Play HORSE
Many of you are probably familiar with the game of HORSE in basketball. Where one person takes a shot and if that person executes the other person has to match it or they get the letter H.
You then proceed and are trying to get your competitor to spell HORSE before you do. You can take this same game to the driving range and call out different shape shots prior to hitting. For example: if you call a draw shot that starts right of a marker and then draws at least 7 yards and you execute it, your competitor than has to hit that same shot or he or she would get an H.
This is a great game to help you start to develop a draw and fade on demand and to start working on different trajectories
#6: Closest to the Pin
Pick a distance that is easy to see and play a closest to the pin competition. Pre determine how many points you will play to and see you can get there first. This is an excellent way to bring some pressure. When your playing competitor sticks a shot to 6 feet from 100 yards, you will be feeling the pressure.
These are great ways to see how you respond and to get you used to playing with some pressure. If you are by yourself, set a reasonable range of a distance that is acceptable. For example, if you are hitting form 100 yards, you may say I want to hit every shot within 20 feet. Keep track over your different range sessions to see how many times out of 10 you are able to do this.
If you really want to mix it up, take different distances and alternate the distances so you are trying to hit.
#7: Fairways Hit
Set your parameters for your fairway and and keep track out of 10 driver swings how many times you can hit the driver. Challenge yourself and say all 10 shots must be a draw or must be a fade and then switch after the first 10 shots. You can develop your go to fairway seeker from playing this game and change it up every now and then on what area is the fairway.
#8: Nine Point
This is the ultimate challenge to help you work the ball and hit the 9 different shots on the golf course. You might be thinking, 9 shots? I thought there were only 3 shots, draw, fade and straight. Well that is three ways to work the ball, now bring in the low and hit shots. So challenge yourself and see if you can hit these 9 shots:
- Low Straight
- Low Draw
- Low Fade
- High Straight
- High Draw
- High Fade
How you can measure this one is to see how many shots it takes to execute these 9 shots. At first it may take you 20 shots because it might take you several times to hit the high draw, but keep working at it and track it over time. When you get on the course, in a competition, you will be more comfortable with working the ball.
#9: Hit The Golf Ball Far Drill
Go ahead and take 20 golf balls and hit them as far as you can. This might be against what you have heard previously, but speed is vital to the game. In order to get faster, we must train faster. Within reason and keeping yourself safe, go ahead and let the ball rip. If you can do this several times a week, your body and brain will train to swing faster and you can gain distance.
If you want a specific speed training protocol, see the next drill below.
#10: Train for Speed
If you do not have the space at home, you can complete this training at the range.
There is a direct correlation between the swing speed of a golfer and their potential to shoot quality scores.
I believe many used to believe, well this is just how fast I can swing.
Recent training tools have started to change many minds. We have seen many of the professional golfers get longer and longer with their tee shots as a result of additional swing speed. You will find many touring pros using the SuperSpeed System, which I highly recommend.
SuperSpeed Golf is one option to increase your swing speed through a science based overspeed training approach. In simple terms, you train by swinging a lighter club (20%) faster than you swing your driver. Over time, by training at a higher speed, your mind and body feel safe to swing that fast with your normal driver, resulting in an increase in driver swing speed.
The SuperSpeed System provides 3 different weighted sticks and takes the golfer through a training protocol every other day for about 15 minutes. The golfer can expect to see a 5-8% increase in swing speed, resulting in 20-30 yards for most golfers. The great news is that the 5-8% can be expected as early as the first training session. The additional speed will become more permanent after about 30-60 days of training.
My own experience has been an increase of 7-10 miles per hour on average from between 98-101 all the way up to 106-109. My goal is to hit the PGA Tour average of 113 mph in the coming months. I will continue to train every other day and watch in amazement as I am hitting drivers longer now than ever before!
Phil Mickelson has been known to increase his swing speed in the past year or so and is close to 120 miles per hour in his swing speed. There are potential results for golfers of all ability levels and age!
|Original Swing Speed||After 4-6 Weeks||New Carry Distance||Total Distance|
#11: Understanding How Far You Hit Each Iron (Create a Distance Chart)
I would highly recommend each golfer create a distance chart like the sample below:
|Club||Carry Distance (100%)||90%||80%|
|2 Utility Iron||210|
This might be the most important information you can use to help you play quality golf. I have heard so many stories and have seen it first hand where golfers completely over estimate how far they hit each iron.
They hit one 7 iron 165 yards one time and think this is their carry distance. So they step up to a 165 yard shot, hit the 7 iron and end up in a bunker. They blade it out of the bunker and are looking at a double bogey as their reality. Instead, if they had the right club and hit the 6 iron, their chance of hitting the middle of the green would increase greatly!
How can you create your own chart?
Option 1: I would highly recommend a launch monitor!
These portable devices can be used at the driving range, golf course or set up in your home net or golf simulator. These devices are game changers not only on being able to map your bag and know your distances, but they also provide quality feedback after on every shot and provide the following information:
- Carry Distance
- Spin Rate
- Launch Angle
- Spin Axis
- Total Distance
- Ball Speed
This information will help you map your bag, decide on which clubs are best for your game, develop a stock shot and much more. I love using my SkyTrak 365 days a year in my golf simulator setup.
The process for mapping your bag can looking something like this:
- Hit 5 shots with each club in your bag.
- Log the carry distance and total distance for each shot.
- Eliminate any outlier numbers (poor hits or low spin rates).
- Take the average and create a map of your bag.
If you visit any PGA Tour event you will see plenty of golfers utilizing their launch monitors. While most can’t afford a Trackman, there are some very affordable options in the 500-2000 dollar range. I own the SkyTrak and think the world of it.
Here are the top 3 options to check out:
Option 2: Use a Driving Range or Open Field
If you can’t afford a launch monitor at this time, here is another option.
- Find an open driving range or open field
- Take 10 balls of the type of golf ball you play
- Pick a target and either walk it off or use a rangefinder.
- Hit 10 shots with each club in your bag and take an average.
- Your rangefinder can help you get a specific distance.
Go ahead and create a chart of each club and their carry distance like the one above.
Final Thoughts: Improving Your Distance Control
If you can improve your ball striking, have great information on how far you have to hit a shot and then have an accurate distance chart, you will be on your way to more enjoyable golf and lower golf scores!
Take the time to practice and get better, get the right technology tools and understand your distances. Commit to the process and watch your game improve!
What’s Next: Finding the Right Combination
You have to ultimately learn your swing and know what drills and games will best prepare you for your next round, while allowing you to continuously seek improvement in your game. The speed training and tracking of your distance are two things that the professionals do often.
The stock shot drill is an amazing dril that can help you control the club face and manage your swing! The drills above are wonderful and can help you get better.
However, don’t forget to get out and play when you can. Learning and trying to apply your growth on the course is important. Taking your game from the range to the course might be difficult at first, but try to clear your mind when you get to the course and play the shot that is required. Playing the simulation game at the range will help you transition your swing from range to course!
Don’t forget your short game: 11 Drills for Chipping
Finally: Don’t Forget To Track Your Progress
With the different drills, go ahead and track your results if it is possible. How many holes did you play perfectly in the simulation game? How many of the 9 windows were you able to hit? How many shots did you hit the distance you were intending to? Track your progress over time as this will encourage you to keep practicing and make sure you celebrate the accomplishments!
Check out: How to make more pars!
Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better
What does this mean for you? I believe in the following recipe to get better:
1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor. Here are some options:
Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:
2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed. Here are some options:
Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:
3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier. Here is a series on breaking through:
We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.
4 – Practice Frequently
Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system? It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:
- Is a Golf Simulator Worth It?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator?
- What is the Best Golf Simulator?
- Golf Simulator Accessories?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for under $7000
- Top 11 Reasons to Buy a SkyTrak
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for Under $1000
- Why Build A Golf Simulator?
- What Space is Needed?
- Can A Golf Simulator Improve My Game?
- How Much Does A Golf Simulator Cost?
- Don’t Forget to Check out our 15 best golf swings of all time.