How to maximize range session?

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dallan

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Ok,

Stupid question here, but I feel like I don't get nearly as much out of a range session as I should. Sometimes I feel like I even go backwards. I've recently started consistently breaking 100, I typically only play a quick 9 once a week (avg 46-48). I'm looking to add in a range session once a week during my lunch break, but want to make sure it helps. I'm pretty comfortable off the tee, the majority of my issues are on the 2nd shot. My putting and short game are decent-ish, as I can usually hit a green/fringe from inside 60 (near the pin is another question) and typically don't 3-putt. I know it can still use work, but right now I want to focus on iron shots. It is really frustrating to mash a drive to the 150yd stick, only to follow it up with a chunk on the 2nd shot. I'd say it happens on a 1/3 of my shots and is killing my score (among other things). Of course my 2nd, 2nd shot (3rd) is usually a good one, its just that post drive 130-180 (6-9) iron approach that is so frustrating. I definitely lose 3-5 strokes a side from this. I could still use left-right control, but typically is solid contact or super fat contact. I can feel what it is when I do it, I would say it's too quick a transition from backswing to downstroke and I just tense up at the last second. Practice swings are nice and smooth and even tempo, but for whatever reason the actual stroke I will just spasm at the start of the downswing and throw the club into the ground.

When I go to the range I think I move too fast (hit a lot of balls in a short period), and don't necessarily improve as much as I think I should be. I've tried the "play an imaginary round" approach, or pick a target and aim for it, but sometimes feel like after hitting so many balls that my swing has changed, or I'm compensating differently by the time I leave. I've switched to hitting off actual turf vs mats as I find the feedback to be more realistic (especially on fat shots). I've tried taking more time between shots in order to make each one count as it would on the course, but it doesn't seem to help, if anything I play worse at the range.

Should I switch up clubs between each shot? Should I keep hitting the clubs I don't have an issue with? I do primarily iron work (5-9) as I don't seem to have the same issue with wedges (48, 52, 56) and driver.

Anybody have other tips as to how to maximize range time?

FWIW I play Cobra OL F8 and love them compared to my old TaylorMade RACs.

Thanks
 

WLG1952

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I practice a lot. Not so much to get better, but to keep what I have going. To slow down my age related swing deterioration.

I never practice off rubber mats. Always off real turf, or thicker synthetic turf.

I usually incorporate my preshot routine between each shot during my practices.

I have 6-8 practice routines I use. From driver to putting
Fairway shots, approach shots, awkward lies, and a couple of other trouble shots. My pitch/chips I practice with my putting. I'm looking for 1 putts.

I decide before each practice session on 1, or 2 routines I want to work on. This usually depends on how I played my last round.

I tend to practice my tougher shots more than the easier ones.

My practice sessions don't last very long. Usually 42 +/- balls, after I warm up. (45 - 75 minutes) On a wild hair day, I might do two practices.

99% of the time, I have a focused goal in mind when practicing. My two biggest focused items are swing tempo, and alignment

I actually focus more on my practices than I do when playing. When playing, I'm pretty much on auto pilot. Hit the ball, go find it, and hit it again.

That 1% is for days I just want to hit balls as hard/fast as I can. Just giving my swing muscles a work out.

This is what works for me.
 

GolfLivesMatter

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The range is a safe place. That's where I can hit away and (more or less) ignore the bad shots. I have found the range to be the place I work on exaggerated movements to train in new movements, not simply hitting 7 irons, PW's, or driver to "see if I got it now". Let's face it, every shot is a flat lie and there's no pass-fail component.
 

Acesteve

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I would say my long history at the range has not bought me much. I tend to show up without anything specific in my mind to practice. I jack balls quickly and get into a rythem that looks pretty good at times. If I'm off I most often can't correct that session any more then I can on the golf course.

About 5 years ago, I started hitting birdie balls off a matt in my driveway into my back yard. Requires about 60 yards of backyard. I can hit real balls up to 9irons and do hit a few of those just to confirm what I'm seeing with the Birdie translates to a ball. This has helped me refine my practice and is far better then my prior 25 years of range sessions.

Some keys for me (1) I'm usually practicing something like maybe different grip pressures in my left hand (2) I always hit 20-30 chips and pitches. This has been huge as it gets my lower body moving. (3) by the time I hit my first 7 or 8 iron, I'm fully warmed up and I expect to hit every ball well. Typically I make 36 full swings which in an ideal world would replicate a full round of golf.
 

Stryker

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You play like you practice. With that in mind, you need to practice like you intend to play. You don’t run up to the ball and just whack it while on the course so why would you do that on the range? Use your range sessions to help build a solid and consistent preshot routine. You practice it with each shot and it will help you find consistency doing the same routine on the course. Doesn’t really matter what the routine is. As long as it works for you but simple routines have you look at the lie, look at the distance and select angle from behind the ball, take a practice swing a couple yards behind the ball, approach ball, address, and swing.

When you are practicing, make sure you are going with a specific purpose in mind. It could be you want to work on 100 yards and in. Or maybe you want to work on long irons. It could be you just want to work on ball flight whether that be hitting draws and fades or flighting the ball down. Whatever it is, have a purpose when you go. If you want to just kind of work on hitting a wide variety of shots, make a game out of it. Imagine your first hole at wherever you normally play. Select your normal club for that tee shot and hit it. Then swap to whatever you would need for second and so on in your head for each hole on the course. Remember that preshot routine while doing it.

One more thing that helped me not just go out and pound balls. Hold your finish. I don’t care how awful a swing I just made. I always hold my finish like I just hit a shot that would win me the Masters. Do not let go of it until the ball hits the ground. If it was a good shot, give yourself a little club twirl or something but always always always hold that finish.
 

uitar99

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Something that has helped me during range time is using my irons and wedges for specific target practice. Not to see how far I can hit a 7 iron. Or how many balls I hit in an hour.

Having a real target has forced me to learn about swing, club face for a variety of shots. and stopped tricking me into thinking, after 1 of 25, 7 iron shots, that happens to go straight'ish, that I have my 7 iron nailed.

For me, the target is everything.

At least now, I am reasonably comfortable of getting GIR+1
 

TheDoctor

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One tip I saw recently about a way to help maximise your range time was to put your bag and basket well back from where you are hitting the ball from and only take 1 ball at a time

This forces you to walk back to your bag to get another ball, and another good thing to do is change club as well because you don't always hit the same club twice in a row on the course, unless you are trying to work on a specific movement or drill in your swing

Apart from that, try to go through your usual pre-shot routine before hitting every ball and pick a specific target on the range rather than just hitting the ball - even if the target isn't at the distance for the club you are hitting, use it as the target line and assess how good a shot you hit based on where the ball finishes

When hitting driver or longer clubs, I try to use two targets on the range as the edges of a fairway to give me a target to have my ball finish between
 

GolfLivesMatter

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One tip that worked for me was to picture the hole that bothers you or gives you the most trouble on the course. For example, a 170-yard par 3 over water. You get one shot. Then rotate to the next shot, say to land on a green that is always tough because, say, you tend to push the ball right or left, or leave it short. Simply picture that particular shot, think about needing to get on the green to win a skin, break 90/80, etc, then hit. I can pretty much guarantee that those swings will be more like your course swings, or you might feel more tension or do something odd that wrecks the shot.
 

Chef23

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I go to the range often. One thing I do that I don’t see almost anyone else do is step away after each spot and go through my full routine. I step behind the ball, pick a target just like I do on the golf course. Sometimes on the course I take a bit of a practice swing mostly with the driver. I don’t usually do that on the range but I do start from behind the ball, pick a target and use my regular routine from that point on. I saw a guy at the range show up next to me with two large buckets and I made a joke about how that would wear me out. He said it only takes him about 20 minutes. He proceeded to machine gun through the ball hitting crappy shots and was done before I was halfway through my medium bucket.

One thing for your tempo try this drill. Practice in sets of 4 balls. With the first three with say a 7 iron make a full swing and try to hit the ball half your usual distance. With the fourth ball go through your full routine and hit it normal. Don’t think about swinging faster just make a normal swing. It is much harder than you think to make solid contact with a slow full swing and it really helps your full swing tempo.
 

wadesworld

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To me, a range session should be divided into two separate sections:

1). Block practice. This is where you work specifically on something you're trying to improve. For example, if your instructor told you to "do the one-leg drill" to improve your centering, this is where you hit 20 balls on one leg. Or, it's where you work on a difficult shot type such as a flop, or fairway bunker shot (if your range has one).

2). Random practice. This is where you hit random clubs, always to a target, but varying shot shapes and ball flights. In short, your goal here is really to experiment, and learn what's possible.
 

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