For most amateurs, the range is a giant field to nail balls into with no reason or care as to where they end up. Sure, I understand that many of you may just use the range to warm up, but it can be much more than that. These 5 tips, used properly may just turn you into a finely-tuned, lesson-eavesdropping, range machine.
Aim for small targets
The late Harvey Penick said it best, “Take Dead Aim”. Especially on the range, this little tip can really take your game to the next level. Besides, without a target, how can you really measure if you’re swinging well? Golf is a game of precision, and this maxim should trickle down into every aspect of your game, including practice. Use the targets on your range, and create imaginary fairways, greens and trees to turn the ball around. Work your golf ball across the range to specific targets, and then the next time you’re faced with a similar situation on the course, it’s not so foreign.
Get a Free Lesson
If you see an instructor teaching a lesson at the range, go and hit balls nearby. You may hear some tips and suggestions that apply to your game, and they didn’t cost you a cent.
Write it down
Find a swing technique or mental thought that works for you? Write it down! Keep a pad of paper of these swing tips in your bag and review them every now and again, most faults tend to sneak back into your swing over and over.
Alignment is key
Most range mats nowadays come with aim lines; use these to align to your target to ensure you’re properly squared up. If you don’t have them, line up a club parallel to your target line and setup to that. Whenever your swing starts to go wrong, start with your setup and alignment, it’s usually the first to go wrong. If you do find yourself hitting it sideways, pack up your clubs and head to the putting green.
Focus on another part of the game for awhile, and if need be, come back another day and try again. We all have our off-days.
Play an Imaginary Course
We all try to crush the driver out on the range, but this tends to through our entire swing tempo out of whack. So the next time you’re hitting a bucket, switch things up and take tip #1 to heart. Create a fairway using the targets our on the range, pull out the big stick and hit a ball down the center… If you miss, add a stroke, and always assume you two-putt every green. I often even use a scorecard from the shop and “play” the golf course out on the range hole-by-hole, doglegs, yardages and all.
By switching up your clubs on the range, you’ll learn to keep your swings tempo nice and smooth, and get to practice those clubs and shots you rarely hit on the range.