An afternoon at the driving range is one of the best ways to hone your golf game without spending an arm and a leg at the course multiple times per week. On the range, you can hit dozens of balls at your own pace, giving you all the time and resources you need to break down your mechanics and fine-tune your shots. Plus, with the evolution of the game in the 21st century, we even have indoor ranges like TopGolf where you can practice all year round. Knowing how to practice efficiently will help you develop your game much more quickly than your friends who like to hack around thoughtlessly until their balls run out. Let’s go over our hottest tips for practicing at the range for players of any level.

What to Focus On Practicing at the Range

Your golf game is made up of numerous skills, and you can practice nearly all of them at the range. Many players will set up shop with their driver and shoot an entire bucket chasing a long shot. But a smart golfer will practice with his driver and his irons. Good practice covers all aspects of your game.

After you’ve warmed up with your driver and you’re feeling loose, switch to your irons and work on your short game. Give each club a little bit of time on every trip to the range. Most ranges even have a practice green you can use to improve your putting skills.

Not only do you need to work on all of your equipment, but you need to work on each element of your game as well. Don’t just focus on the mechanics of your swing (although they’re important!). Make sure you’re checking your stance, your posture, your grip, your aim, the wind… everything you’d check any time you line up at the tee.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Spend more time on your weaker skills, and your stronger skills will continue to develop alongside them.

How to Practice Efficiently

There are a few approaches to efficient practice at the driving range. Many players like to utilize shooting drills to give themselves a structured way to break down their play. Others like to mimic the flow of play on a real golf course, mixing up the types of shots they practice. We like to mix a bit of both!

“Block practice” is a method of learning that involves repeating the same skill over and over again. This is the most common practice you’ll observe at the driving range. Most players start with their driver and whack 15 or 20 balls before hitting the next club. If you deliberately replicate your swing over and over, aiming for the same target each time, you can use block practice to nail down the exact flow and feel of a particular stroke.

On the other hand, we have “random” practice, which is what it sounds like. You mix up your different clubs and targets randomly, trying to apply your technique consistently regardless of your selections. You can use this style of practice to try and emulate your favorite courses and most challenging holes.

In a typical routine, you’ll want to warm up with a block first, then switch to random. This will give you the attention to detail to your swing so you can re-examine yourself on each and every stroke. Swings should be consistent and even from one to the next. In a block session, you’re trying to recreate the same sensations in your body to build muscle memory and retention.

After you’ve given each club some block time, you can move into random practice. Before your first stroke, set a goal. Maybe you’ll drive the ball between 170-190 yards, shoot your 5 iron for 90 more, then chip 20 yards. Or, you’ll set up a short drive with your 3 wood, and another short, lofty stroke with your 9 iron to drop onto the green (60 yards away). You get the idea – mix up your shots to see how close you can get to each target after shooting something else beforehand.

Make It a Game

Golf is a game, and games are about having fun. Challenge yourself to meet different goals, and make games out of them.

Try driving a ball 180 yards, then 190, then 200. Try chipping 20 yards left of a target, then 20 yards in the opposite direction. You can come up with lots of fun games to make practicing less of a grind and more of a fun activity.

Try different combinations of skills and goals to keep it fresh. Then, drop us a comment to share your favorite way to practice!