Playing Round or Range: What’s the Best Practice for Golf Improvement?

Is playing rounds on the course better for improving your golf game than spending time at the driving range? Golfers share their insights.

I’ve been playing a par 3 after work instead of hitting the range. Now, the thought of going to the range sounds repulsive lol. Has anyone gotten better from just purely playing?


  • Golfers debate whether playing rounds or practicing at the range is more beneficial for improvement.
  • Scratch golfers recommend playing actual rounds over range sessions.
  • The consensus is that a mix of both playing and structured practice is key to enhancing skills.
  • Playing offers the advantage of real-world situations and decision-making.

Playing Offers Real-World Practice

Playing rounds provides valuable practice in real-world golf situations, including handling imperfect lies and decision-making on the course. It allows for a broad range of practice scenarios that are hard to replicate on the driving range. Golfers who advocate for playing emphasize the importance of adapting to different conditions and gaining confidence through live repetitions.

Structured Practice at the Range

While playing is crucial, structured practice at the range is equally important for skill development. Simply hitting balls without intent is not as effective as practicing with a purpose. Utilizing tools like launch monitors and data analytics can help golfers identify areas for improvement and work on specific skills to lower handicaps.

Combining Playing and Range Sessions

Many golfers believe that a combination of playing rounds and targeted range practice yields the best results. While playing helps with course management and decision-making, the range allows for focused skill practice, including club data analysis, shot shaping, and face and path control. This holistic approach to improvement can lead to better overall performance on the course.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between playing rounds and practicing at the range is key to golf improvement. By integrating both aspects into their training routines, golfers can enhance their skills, boost confidence, and enjoy the game even more.