One of the best things about golf is that every player strives to improve. The improvement is measurable and the chance to hit the shot of your life is always lurking down the next fairway.
Many players are quick to spend time on the field, but they don’t make it to the driving range or short game facility. Those going to the driving range may not have a proper practice routine and are not making the most of their time. This leaves many wondering why they aren’t shooting the scores they think they are capable of.
The answer is simple: you are not practicing intentionally and with a purpose.
Here are five tips to optimize your time when you’re practicing on the shooting range:
1. Get rid of the rapid fire approach
A view of golf balls in baskets on a driving range. Photo by Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Remember to think quality over quantity every day as you hit balls on the driving range. If you buy a big bucket and you’re done with it in 20 minutes, chances are you haven’t had a useful practice session. Develop a routine to try to apply to each ball you hit.
2. Don’t start with your driver
Ernie Els warms up on the driving range during the first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship golf tournament at Phoenix Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Starting with your driver in range is a recipe for injury. Starting with a club like an 8-iron is a safe bet, as it keeps your body in a more neutral position and swings easy, upright, and solidly grounded.
3. Pick a target and use an alignment stick
Ian Poulter of England practices on the driving range before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on September 6, 2022 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)
Practicing with a purpose means taking every shot with intent. Where do you want the ball to land? How do you want the ball to land? These are all questions you should be asking yourself with every shot you make. Put an alignment stick down, or if you don’t have one, use another iron, and make sure you’re committed to your target.
4. Put drills
Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas practice their putting on the 16th green during a practice round for the 150th British Open Golf Championship at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland on July 10, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN /AFP via Getty Images)
Many golfers focus on how their irons or drivers hit, but forget where most of their shots come from. The putt is possibly the most important part of the sport. Many golfers practice putting by hitting their golf balls at random targets. Implement an element of repetition by doing an exercise. Hit a three foot putt 25 times or delay the same putt 10 times. This helps build confidence that you can take the course.
5. Practice hitting different chip shots
Team USA golfer Collin Morikawa hits his chip shot on the second green during a practice day for the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club. (Photo: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)
Maybe the 16th hole is not the best time to try that flop shot you’ve never practiced before. The course is not the time to try new shots when you’re trying to shoot a low score, so master it beforehand when practicing. Spend time learning how to hit low or high with a high spin. Try chipping different clubs in the bag and practice hitting on different types of grass.
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek