Everyday thousands of golfers go to the driving range to practice their game, but very few actually make improvements that translate into their performance on the golf course. Too many golfers think practice makes perfect. Practice doesn’t make perfect, quality practice does. The purpose of this article is to teach you a simple and effective way to immediately increase the quality of your practice time at the driving range so you can make those breakthroughs in your golf game you have been wanting.
Let’s start by looking at some common problems golfers experience at the driving range. First, they show up at the range without a plan for their time. Next, they start with a wedge, hit a few shots, and mindlessly work their way up through their bag. During this time, most golfers will fall into “Rake and Hit” syndrome and hit 10-15 shots in a row without realigning, doing a pre-shot routine, or giving much thought to what they want to achieve with each swing/shot. Poor quality practice like this can only produce mediocre results at best.
One way to immediately increase the quality of your practice is to simulate your performance on the golf course. Instead of just hitting shot after shot with each club in your bag, make the commitment to practice like you will play. When you are performing on the golf course you will never hit the same club twice, and if you do that means trouble. So what sense does it make to hit 10-15 balls in a row with one club, unless you are fine tuning your mechanics for a specific type of shot?
Next time you go to the driving range give this approach a shot. Once you get warmed up, create an imaginary fairway using the markers on the range. Next, pull out your driver, tee up your ball, and do your normal pre-shot routine like you would on the tee box while on the golf course. Treat the shot like you do when you are in a performance mode. Address the ball, take the shot, and evaluate your results. Then, find a flag to use as a green for your approach shot, select the appropriate club, and do your normal routine just like you do on the golf course. Take your shot, evaluate your results, and repeat this style of practice for the rest of your bucket. A great mentality to keep you focused and on-track during this type of practice is “What I do at the range, I will do on the course.”
When you practice the way you will play on the golf course, your quality of practice immediately increases. It gives you a purpose and direction for your practice time. This type of practice teaches you to slow down, think through your shots, and get the appropriate feedback from each shot so you can make improvements. It also helps you develop and practice your pre-shot routine which is one of the most important habits for achieving peak performance on the golf course.