Many golfers spend countless hours hitting ball after ball at the driving range.
They are seeking that perfect swing or that perfect feeling that they can take to the course.
There are times when they get into a groove and they think they have “their secret” to the game of golf and they will play consistently from this day forward!
I think we have all been there!
We just want to be consistent and play to our level of expectations. To get better every year and play well when it matters the most. Whether that is a club championship, money game with your friends, or a high level tournament such as a US Amateur or US Open qualifier.
The reality is that the driving range is a combination of our work area and our dream zone. While the driving range can help all golfers get better, there are definitely some routines that could help.
The truth is that we will all have good days and bad days, but the more we practice the right way the better we increase our chances of having more good days than bad days.
Keeping your mindset strong on those bad days can save you some strokes and help you feel more consistent, but at the end of the day when golfers talk about playing consistent the majority want to strike the ball solid and hit their intended target line more times than not!
Here at golfjourney365, we love the challenge of golf both physically and mentally. The 4 hour grind that a round is when playing competitively and the work that comes at the driving range and around the practice green.
Golf Driving Range Practice Routine
There are 5 Keys to a quality driving range session. These include:
- Have a Clear Goal for the Practice Session
- Learn to Read your Ball Flight
- Stay Injury Free and Healthy
- Practice Strengths and Weaknesses
- Practice Real Game Like Situations
Below I will dive into maximizing your driving range sessions. If you are going to spend an hour or more at the driving range and the 10 or so dollars for the bucket of balls, you want to make sure you are getting better.
I see too many golfers standing there hitting driver after driver thinking they are to solve their current issues. Instead, follow along and consider these 5 keys. Below each key, I give a tip on how to get better at this key.
Key #1: Have A Clear Goal for the Practice Session
Each session should begin with at least one goal and no more than 3. For example, you might want to work on hitting a draw shot or working the ball both ways. Make sure the goal is specific and measurable. Don’t simply just think, I want to hit my driver better.
Instead say, I want to hit my driver straighter (6 out of 10 fairways) or further (5-10 additional years). Or I want to be able to hit a draw with my driver 8 out of 10 times. When you put a measurement to it, you can assess your skill on that day and track over the course of time.
Keep a golf journal and monitor your progress over time with your goals. Have an easy assessment system in place and it starts with having clear, specific and measurable goals for each practice round.
You might want to set game improvement goals at the beginning of every month and monitor your progress throughout the month in your golf journal.
Tip #1: Work to Improve on One of the Three Fundamentals
If you are struggling to identify a quality goal or two consider the three fundamentals of golf.
- The first fundamental is the golfer’s ability to control the bottom of the golf swing. The best golfers will hit the ground in the intended spot, close to 100% of the time.
- The second fundamental is the golfer’s ability to control the curve of the golf ball. The best golfers are able to start the ball to the right or left of the target line and have the ball curve towards the target without the ball over curving past the target.
- The third fundamental is the golfer’s ability to have enough power to play the golf course. This means they are able to hit the ball far enough to play the course in regulation.
Assess your game on these three fundamentals and determine where you need the most work. Once you have done that, you can write a goal around 1-3 of these fundamentals.
- Fundamental #1: Hit the ball solid 9 out of 10 times with my 8 iron.
- Fundamental #2: Hit my intended start line 8 out of 10 times.
- Fundamental #3: Increase my swing speed by 3-5 miles per hour.
Having these clear goals will help you maximize your range session. Don’t be the person that stands there and hits 55 – 7 irons in a row.
Key #2: Learn to Read Your Ball Flight
The ability to read your ball flight and know what went wrong with your club face or your swing path is the key to playing better golf. The best golfers at your club or throughout the country understand what causes bad shots and the adjustments that they need to make.
This leads to greater consistently with fundamental #2 of being able to hit your intended start line and to control the curve of the shot.
When at the driving range, you can save the frustration of guessing what went wrong and instead read your ball flight and have a general idea of what took place in your swing!
Tip #2: Understand the Ball Flight Laws so You Can Make Adjustments
I can help you better understand the ball flight laws with this explanation below.
Why? If you understand the ball flight laws you can start to become your own swing instructor and make corrections on the range or the course by reading the flight of your golf ball.
Too often golfers turn to the video of their swing when everything you need to know can be read off of your ball flight. Did you know that your ball flight can tell you the following:
- Where your club face was at impact.
- If your swing path was left or right of the club face.
Once you know these two items you can make the corrections by checking out our 2nd Tip on understanding what swing thoughts can help you get the proper matchups.
So let’s dive into the ball flight laws:
- Generally speaking, the golf ball will start where the club face is aiming.
- The golf ball will then curve away from the swing path.
There are two different lines that we must understand. The target line and the start line. The best golfers start the ball left or right of the target line and then curve the ball back towards the target.
Let’s go over some examples to help you better understand the ball flight laws.
Example A: Let’s say that the club face is 3 degrees right of the target line and the swing path is 5 degrees right of the target line. What will the ball do?
Answer: The ball will start right of the target line and draw back towards the target. This is known as a push draw.
Example B: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees right of the target line, same as in example A, but the swing path is only 1 degree right of the target line. What will the ball do?
Answer: The ball will start to the right of the target line and will fade to the right. Keep in mind that the ball will curve away from the swing path. In this example, both the club face and the swing path are to the right and the ball will curve away from the path.
Example C: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees to the left of the target line and the swing path is 5 degrees left of the target line. What will the ball do?
Answer: The ball will start to the left and curve to the right. This would be a pull fade or pull slice. Keep in mind that even though the face is closed to the target line, it is open to the swing path and the ball will curve away from the swing path.
Example D: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees to the left and the swing path is only 1 degree to the left. What will the ball do?
Answer: The ball will start left and curve left. This shot would look like a pull draw.
Hopefully, these examples help you understand the club face and swing path correlation and how they match up. Once you understand these ball flight laws, it will help you read your own shots and possibly make in round adjustments.
Key #3: Stay Injury Free and Healthy
One of the keys whether you are 16 or 66 is to be able to stay healthy throughout a golf season. The last thing we want is to have an unnecessary injury that sidelines us and doesn’t allow us to enjoy the game of golf.
Take your overall condition of your body seriously and find a way to make your body stronger throughout the year and withstand the demands that the golf swing places on it.
Tip #3: Have a Proper Warm Up Routine
When at the driving range, make sure you are stretched out and warmed up with the proper clubs. I would recommend starting with a wedge and hitting some simple pitch shots and working through your bag starting with the wedge and progressing to the driver.
The last thing you want to do is reach for the driver and just start trying to hit it 300 yards.
One area that has helped my flexibility and speed is the SuperSpeed Golf System. This system is based on three different swing clubs with protocols to follow. The protocols are easy to follow and only take 10-15 minutes every other day.
You can add 5-8% swing speed as early as the first session. Through the use of this system, not only have I been able to gain speed, but I feel mechanically my swing is better and my body can handle faster swings.
Use discount code Golfjourney365 for at the SuperSpeed Website to save $10 on your purchase.
Key #4: Practice Strengths and Weaknesses
After you have warmed up, spend some time working on strengths and/or weaknesses in your game. For example, you might target your mid iron game.
You could hit 5, 6 or 7 irons and work on different shape shots. Or you could find a target and imagine a 40 foot radius around that target and see out of 10 times how many times you can hit it.
Give yourself actual golf shots to hit and work on creating some pressure in your routine. The easiest golf shots sometimes are those that have no consequences.
Learn to compete even with yourself during your practice routines. Don’t get stuck in the trap of just hitting 6 iron after 6 iron with no real target or goal.
If your driver is failing you, you could work on hitting 10 draw shots in a row and journal how many times out of 10 you were successful. Once again, have a clear target that is measurable.
I prefer to work in groups of 10 for proper assessment and tracking.
Tip #4: Hit the 9 Shots in Golf or the Start Line Drill
If your game is going strong and you want to simply work on the different shape shots try to hit the 9 shots in golf. If you took 5 swings at each shape, you would have 45 shots that get you working on different shots.
Or just simply pick one side of the chart below and try to hit the 3 different draw shots or the 3 fade shots. This is a wonderful way to see windows in your golf game and get you training to hit different approach shots into greens depending on the pin location.
Key #5: Practice Real Game Like Situations
To end your practice routine, I now want to get you hitting real life situational shots. Even on a driving range you can simulate the experience and get your mind and body into game like situations that force you to hit certain shots.
Tip #5: Details of This Game
In this practice routine you can pick either your favorite course or a course you will be playing soon. Imagine yourself standing on that first tee and think about hte typical width that the drive requires.
Identify the boundaries using markers in the driving range and try to hit that first tee shot at the course you are thinking of.
Assess where your shot went and consider what club you might have left for your approach shot. If it was a 400 yard par 4 you are playing and you hit your drive 250 yards, you now should hit your 150 club.
Let’s say that is an 8 iron, so you grab your 8 iron and imagine the green/target you are trying to hit and go ahead and play the shot using boundaries on the driving range.
Work through an entire 18 holes hitting the tee shots and approach shots to every hole. This is a great way to put yourself in those pressure situations and give yourself a goal of how many greens in regulation you want to hit. Track your number of greens over time and see if you improve.
I have used this game often when preparing to play a certain course. It helps me feel more comfortable over shots when I actually play because in my mind I have hit them recently and with success!
It is also fun to play a famous course in your mind on the driving range!
BONUS TIP: Course Management
The stronger you can get with the 3 fundamentals above, the better your course management can become. When we are striking the ball well, we have the confidence to manage the course and the conditions, play the smart shot and rely on our putter to make some putts.
When the ball striking turns bad, we might start to force shots or situations and not remain patient. Here are some course management guides to take your game to the next level:
The guides I have created on getting your game to the next level spend a significant amount of time on course management. Make sure to check out what level you are trying to get to.
BONUS TECH TIP: SkyTrak Launch Monitor
Several years ago I purchased a SkyTrak Launch Monitor from Rain or Shine golf and I have been thrilled with the launch monitor. The immediate feedback I get at the driving range when paired with my Iphone or Ipad is helpful at the range.
I have also setup a golf simulator in my garage, where I can practice 365 days a year at some of the best courses in the world. The amount my ball striking has improved has been well worth the investment. In addition, it is a ton of fun with family and friends.
Overall, the launch monitor pairs well with The Golf Club software, which provides over 100,000 course options including Augusta, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits and many other top 100 courses!
The routine I explained above I often use on my simulator on a driving range setup or just picking a hole that challenges my driver or approach shots.
The auto rewind shot feature is incredible as I love to hit 8 irons into the 12th hole par 3 at Augusta and challenge my distance control and accuracy!
*Check out the many Golf Simulator links below at the bottom of this post.
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.