How to Make the Driving Range Fun
Deliberate practice is the key to finding success in any sport. Golf is no exception. The driving range is a controlled setting in which you can perfect the nuances of your swing. The driving range allows you to focus on critical details and eliminate bad habits that, in game play, can be the difference between birdie and par. In this article we’ll explore ways to energize your driving range experience and maximize your swing.
As useful a training tool as the driving range is, it unfortunately lacks the excitement of being out on a golf course. Repetition is the key to perfection, but repetition can also be the key to boredom. To get the greatest benefit from your driving range sessions, it’s important to be engaged mentally as well as physically. By using several mental tricks you can transform boring repetition into fully engaging drills.
Staying Engaged Mentally During Repetition
To maximize the benefit of the time spent at the driving range, you must keep your mind from wandering. Success comes from staying focused on the task at hand and a steadfast commitment to learning and development throughout any driving range session. However, just because you must be engaged doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Here are several ways to ensure mental engagement:
• Course Visualization
• Game Play
• Club Variation
Course Visualization at the Driving Range
One effective drill is to model your driving range experience on an actual golf course and keep score during your session. By visualizing a real course, you create an objective for every swing that keeps you engaged. Through visualization you keep track of the distance of your drives and assess your stroke in the context of a true golf scenario.
Another benefit of visualization is that it allows you to consider solutions to real game play situations. Visualization also inherently encourages club variation in the context of real game scenarios. Frequently changing clubs helps develop the muscle memory that will be of great benefit when you encounter similar situations during competitive play.
Consistency and accuracy are critical components to any good golf game. Game play is a way to help improve your performance. Pick an object out on the range such as a sign or a rock, and award yourself points for striking it with a ball, or landing one near it. You can play against yourself, or with a partner.
Adding competition within a stroke perfection drill helps to provide focus for the drill. Game play drills can be varied by allowing the competitors to alternate, or to accumulate the best score in a given number of strokes. Any drill can be made more engaging by assigning a competitive purpose to the action.
Too often golfers go to the driving range with little more objective than to do a certain number of strokes. However, if you grow bored and become mentally disengaged, your time at the driving range might actually serve to reinforce bad habits. Rather than arriving at the driving range with an objective of 50 strokes with a given club, limit yourself to 10 swings per club and then put yourself on a rotation of several clubs.
By switching your club after every 10 strokes, you force your mind to do a mental reset, which helps you focus on proper technique. Frequently switching clubs also allows the development for the kind of muscle memory you will need for efficient game play. If you find your mind wandering, then vary the number of strokes you do per club.
Improvement at any undertaking doesn’t come through practice alone, but instead comes through quality practice. The driving range is a fantastic tool for improving your overall golf game, but to maximize the gains you achieve from your training sessions, you must keep yourself both physically and mentally engaged.
The driving range is the perfect place to focus on the nuances of your game, but that doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to be miserable. Through visualization, game play, and club variation, it’s possible to create competitive scenarios within the context of your swing drills that encourage mental engagement and maximize the benefit of your driving range experience.