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Beginners usually have a long way to go in advancing their golf skills. However, no matter how often you practice, you’ll hit a plateau, and your skills might start to feel stagnant.
In order to get over the plateau, you’ll need to make a few changes, like going to the driving range.
On the other hand, if you’re an avid golf player and can only afford to go to the course a couple of times a month, the driving range might also be an option for you.
But the jury is still out concerning whether the driving range is helpful or not.
Going to the driving range is helpful if you are using your own clubs and trying to perfect your swing or angles that you hit the ball. However a driving range won’t help you much if your putting or other parts of the game are where you struggle.
Some people believe that going to the driving range helps develop muscle memory and could help you get better by giving you a chance to practice a short game often. The driving range could also fit better in your schedule if you’re very busy.
On the other hand, some experts feel that going to the range is a waste of time and won’t be helpful in the long run unless specific conditions are met.
In the rest of this article I will give you a few of the pros and cons of going to the driving range to help you decide if it is worthwhile for you.
5 Advantages Of Going To The Driving Range
As with anything there are pros and cons to going to the driving range. Below I will give you 5 of the pros of going to a driving range.
1. Helps To Develop Muscle Memory
One of the significant advantages of going to the driving range is that it helps develop muscle memory. The more you make repetitive motions over and over, your body starts to remember all the necessary movements.
For example, where to place your hands on the club or the proper motion of your wrist.
A beginner player will significantly benefit from this type of practice. It helps improve your game and will take the strain out of learning repetitive motions on the unpredictable terrain of the golf course.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Going to the driving range is an excellent way of improving your golf skills.
For example, driving balls helps with your swing, stance, and follow-through. All three are crucial in the game of golf.
If you need extra help, most driving ranges usually have a trainer available to assist you and answer any questions you may have.
3. Ability To Analyze The Distance Of Your Clubs
Another great benefit of using the driving range is that it helps analyze the distance your golf clubs can strike the ball.
Let’s take a look at a real-life scenario; generally, an eight or a nine iron club can send the golf ball onto the fairway. However, if you practice at the driving range, you can perfect the distance and know exactly the club to use the next time you play on an actual course.
4. It Fits A Busy Schedule
As I mentioned before, if you live a busy life and you want to squeeze in a practice session during the week, the driving range is the perfect solution.
You get to enjoy the outdoors while improving your skills in a very convenient environment.
5. Helps You Practice Your Short Game
The short game is as important as the long game. What do I mean?
Well, the long game refers to hitting the ball from the tee box or from the green. The short game is when you’re hitting the ball close to the green.
While the most common reason people visit the driving range is to perfect their tee shots onto the fairway, it’s not the only thing you can do. Most driving ranges also have an area where you can practice your putt and chip, i.e., your short game.
4 Disadvantages Of Going To The Driving Range
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why going to the driving range might not be helping you to advance your golf skills like you would like.
1. Practicing The Same Movements
Practice might make perfect, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. Hitting the same club over and over might not set you up for a better performance on the golf course.
Some experts have recently been talking about the difference between random and blocked practice.
What does that mean?
Blocked practice refers to when you do the same movement repeatedly during a practice session. Random practice is when your sessions are a mixture of different styles.
For example, in a blocked practice, you’ll be hitting your 7 iron clubs at the same target. In a random practice, you would be hitting a 7 iron, then a driver club, a 3 iron, and so on.
The driving range is more of blocked practice than random practice. While it helps you get better at a particular skill and improves your immediate performance, random practice could help enable you to retain what you learn better.
2. Aiming At The Same Target
The driving range does not represent the conditions on a normal golf course. It’s very unlikely that you’ll hit the same shot at the same target over and over at the golf course.
On the range, though, this seems to be what golfers do all the time.
So if it’s not something you’ll do at the course or in a golf tournament, why aim at the same target and hit the same shot over and over? It almost becomes mechanical and robs you of the chance to maximize and build on their planning of each shot during practice.
The best way to do this is to:
● Choose different targets for each practice shot
● Pick a different club
● Or keep the same club and attempt a different flight path (fade or draw) or type or shot (partial or full swing).
This approach helps you develop your planning skills as you change your target and simulate a real golf game. Each shot on the course presents a new problem that you need to build a unique solution.
For example, you’re going to encounter different weather conditions, and you need to be able to visualize the shot. Having a pre-shot routine will definitely help your practice sessions.
3. The Range Compromises Fluidity
Planning how you take your shot is essential. However, when you’re on the range, it’s pretty easy to focus too much on controlling your movements.
There’s a possibility that you’ll spend too much time focusing internally; this causes you to become mechanical and compromises your overall fluidity.
Additionally, you must remember that golf is an individual sport. It requires the player to be in control of their emotions and thoughts.
Playing on the range interferes with your ability to focus on learning and performance. Why? Because you’re distracted by what’s going on in your head.
4. It’s Too Easy
Practice sessions don’t always mean better learning. The best way to improve your skills is to go through challenges and struggles.
You can only find this in conditions that induce the most errors.
The driving range is often flat, which makes practicing there a relatively easy and enjoyable process. This is very far from the conditions you’ll face on the course.
If the range you go to is not offering non-flat lies with varying turf, for example, then it might not be helping you much at all.
An optimal driving range should be challenging for the player with targets that mimic greens and non-green targets. It should offer the player plenty of opportunities to practice different types of shots.
The idea is to make the range as similar to an actual golf course as possible.
There are many reasons to go to the driving range if you want to practice one specific shot or if you want to strengthen your swing skills. However, as to whether going to the range is helpful in the long run, it really depends on where you are at in your golf game.
The driving range is perfect for a quick practice session, and it won’t hurt your game. You just need to know how to use the range to your advantage and keep in mind the issues that I mentioned in this article.