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Top Tips for Improving Your Time at the Driving Range

Where do you go to practice your golf game? For many golfers, the most common answer is the driving range. Driving ranges welcome every type of golfer, from novice to...

Where do you go to practice your golf game?

For many golfers, the most common answer is the driving range.

Driving ranges welcome every type of golfer, from novice to serious players, and are evolving from a fairly basic structure with poor-quality golf balls and mats as hard as concrete to tech-laden entertainment venues like Topgolf. Here, you can enjoy a variety of food and drinks while demonstrating your Scottie Scheffler-like golfing skills to all who are watching.

Many golfers experience losing focus when they are at the driving range. It’s all too easy to start with a bucket of 50 balls, intending to practice with precision and dedication, only to find yourself swinging the driver with all your might, aiming for the back fence.

So, if you want to use your time at the range effectively, our guide will give you valuable tips to ensure every golf ball you hit is well-spent.

We’ll focus on the following ideas:

  • Be SMART With Your Practice
  • Be Brilliant At The Basics
  • Make Your Practice Challenging And Fun
  • Additional Ways To Focus Your Driving Range Session
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Be SMART With Your Practice

Do you ever think seriously about what you want to do when you go to the driving range, or does your session descend quickly into smashing the driver or taking potshots at the buggy collecting golf balls out on the range?

If you are looking for a way to be honest with your practice and a structure to follow to improve the quality of your practice time, you could build a SMART objective.

SMART objectives can be used in various areas of life, and you may have already used them in some capacity, either in your professional or personal life.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • S - Specific
  • M - Measurable
  • A - Achievable
  • R - Relevant
  • T - Time-bound

By setting a SMART objective for your golf game, you’re not just setting a goal but taking control of your practice. This can give you the focus you need to ensure you use your time at the driving range productively, empowering you to make significant improvements in your game.

From a golfing perspective, there are many areas you could build SMART objectives around.

  • You might find that you struggle to find fairways off the tee
  • Your approach play means you don’t hit many greens in regulation
  • Your scrambling abilities could be poor
  • The number of three-putts you have in a round could be high

Let’s give you an example from a golfing perspective.


You want to increase the percentage of fairways you hit off the tee from 40% to 55%.


  • You will have two sessions a week at the driving range.
  • You will hit 15 balls with the driver at the end of your session and create an imaginary fairway at the range to measure how many out of the 15 balls would hit the fairway.
  • You’ll also record your stats when you play and assess them after one month.


  • Can you hit 55% of fairways every time you play? Factors like extreme weather when you play can make the target figure challenging to achieve.
  • You can also seek improvement by investing in lessons to improve your technique and a custom-fitted driver.


  • Hitting more fairways off the tee will help improve my score by reducing the number of bogeys and double bogeys on the scorecard.


  • Your objective of getting up to 55% of fairways hit will begin in the off-season and will be achieved by your first competition in March of the following year.

Think about your own game, identifying areas that need work, and try creating a SMART objective to help you improve.

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Be Brilliant At The Basics

If we are serious about making long-term improvements to our golf games, we have to consider the physical aspects. Being physically fitter to play golf can help our performance, but it is also a good measure for preventing short-term or chronic injuries that could seriously hamper our ability to play golf.

Before any golf ball is hit, you should stretch and warm up.

If you are looking for guidance on what to focus on in a warm-up, you can read some great articles on the Nine By Nine Golf website by Adam Boyd-Brown, a golf fitness expert.

If you want to improve your fitness over the long term, we strongly recommend consulting with a specialist like Adam to assess your current health and build personal stretching and strengthening programs tailored to your needs.

Once you have warmed up and prepared your body for hitting golf balls at the range, start with one of your lofted golf wedges with some basic chip and pitch shots to build up a feel of how you are hitting the ball. Even with these very short shots, pay close attention to your fundamentals, grip, stance, and alignment.

Many swing flaws originate from poor fundamentals. Setting up correctly to the ball goes a long way to building a consistent swing, but when we start to hit inaccurate shots, we search for the route of our problem within the swing. We sometimes don’t understand that we may be lined up poorly to our intended target.

When you have chosen your target, make your stance and then place either an alignment stick or a golf club along your foot line to act as a visual reference. Once placed, step away and look down the line of your shot to the target.

The alignment stick or golf club should be perfectly parallel to your intended target. If it is not parallel, line it up correctly before hitting shots. As you progress through your bag and select different targets to aim at, always make sure you are lined up correctly with the target before you hit shots.

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Make Your Practice Challenging And Fun

Going to the golf driving range should present an opportunity to test your skills in an environment where you aren’t worried about losing a golf ball.

When you look out onto the range, you’ll see different targets. These include individual greens or green complexes, distance boards, or marker polls.

You can build challenges for yourself using these resources and measure the results. Hitting to greens will give you a scenario you will experience on the golf course. Green complexes are also useful because the distances vary from pin to pin, and the angles differ slightly. Make sure you take the opportunity to hit shots to each flag. Give yourself a specific number of balls for each pin and see how many times you can hit the “green”. Use the pre-shot routine you use out on the course to add an extra element of realism.

When it gets to the golf driver, challenge yourself by creating a fairway. You can select a couple of marker boards/poles or something outside the range that gives you a clear visual reference. Once you have designated your fairway, set yourself a target of how many times you can hit your fairway with ten shots. You can make the fairway tighter if you want to challenge yourself more.

A technique used by professionals for years is to imagine the golf course they will play on the driving range. If your first hole is a par four and you usually hit a driver off the tee, hit a driver towards your designated fairway. Picture in your mind what the tee shot looks like, and go through your pre-shot routine before committing to the shot.

If a good drive on the course normally leaves you a nine-iron into the green, pick a suitable target on the range and hit your nine-iron towards it.

Admittedly, this exercise requires some imagination, but any prep work you can do away from the course that could help you score is worth exploring.

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Additional Ways To Focus Your Driving Range Session

If you are looking to change your golf clubs, the driving range can act as a useful facility stop to measure the performance of your existing golf clubs. You have the luxury of spending more time analysing your shot patterns and strike locations when you are at the range compared to being on the golf course playing in a competition or your Saturday morning fourball. Hitting a series of shots with a chosen club can help you build your own data set of how often you hit your intended target.

If you mishit a shot, how far short of your target does it land, or how many shots end up left or right of your target? You can also check where your strike location is on the clubface, which could be a helpful indicator of how suitable the shafts you are using are and whether or not your clubs are too upright or too flat.

Building this data set becomes useful when you come in for a custom-fitting session because you can discuss it with the fitter at the outset and give the fitter helpful background information to work from as they familiarise themselves with your game.

Once you receive your new golf clubs after a fitting, you can also spend time at the range acclimatising to them before you take them out on the golf course. You can gauge the entire flight of the golf ball and get used to how the ball feels coming off the face.

Many golfers use their time at the driving range for different reasons, representing the beauty and flexibility of what they offer. You can have somebody taking their first tentative shots of making contact with a golf ball next to a seasoned amateur honing their swing to give them a chance of shooting better scores and lowering their handicap.

The range can be your opportunity to develop SMART objectives for your practice time and what you want to achieve.

You can also build challenges to mirror situations you face on the golf course. Being creative with shot selection and shaping or envisioning playing your next round of golf can help identify areas in your game that need improving.

Before you hit any golf ball, take the time to stretch out and warm up your body, and when you are ready to hit shots and select a target to aim at, make sure that your alignment is good.

The range is also a great venue to assess your current equipment. If you have selected an area of the bag you want to change, record some stats of shot patterns with that golf club or golf clubs that can be useful to share with a club fitter.

Building good habits at the driving range can do wonders for your golf game, so consider implementing some of the things we have described in this article and see how your game improves.

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