Most golfers love going to the driving range. After all, it’s a great excuse to blast golf balls as far as you possibly can without the fear of screwing up a great scorecard. But what many golfers don’t realize is that the driving range provides an excellent opportunity to improve your game through thoughtful, deliberate practice.
The next time you buy a bucket of balls at the range, give these helpful tips a try before you start firing at will with your driver:
Freeze your backswing. Once you hit the apex of your backswing, stop and hold it in place for a full second or two. Then, take your normal downswing. This drill will help you differentiate the separate parts of your swing, and will help you swing at equal velocity throughout your entire motion—which is a great way to fix heavy slices and hooks.
Hit balls with your feet together. By swinging your club with your feet next to each other, you will force your body to maintain a greater level of balance. Once perfected, this can help you strike the ball cleaner due to a smoother, more balanced swing.
Keep your mental game sharp. While the temptation to simply start blasting balls is strong, you’ll notice that you get substantially better results if you stay mentally focused. One of the best ways to do this is to constantly be thinking of a simple yet important precept of golf. Something along the lines of “Swing through the ball, not at the ball.” By staying focused on this one critical element of your game, you’ll find that your overall level of distraction will be much lower.
Use a penny. We’ve talked about this one before, but it’s so effective we thought we’d bring it up again. You probably have a few pennies in your pocket—put them to good use! Take a few out and set them on the practice mat. Try your best to hit the penny high into the air off the mat with each of your clubs. The lower the loft of the club the more difficult this exercise will be—but if you can master it with each club, you probably won’t ever top another golf shot again!
The bucket drill. This one has been around for years, but there’s a good reason for that—it’s very effective. Take the bucket that holds range balls and push it up against your chest, holding it in place with the insides of your arms as you grip your club. Now take a few practice swings. This drill should help you keep your arms apart as you swing, which helps prevent an exaggerated downswing.
If you want to become a better golfer, give these five tips a try. And for best results, be sure to visit the range with other golfers also focused on improving their game—not your drinking buddies. This will help you put in more of the deliberate practice that’s required to achieve all of your golf-related goals!