5 ways to make your range session more effective in 2019
Is there a sadder sight in golf than the guy who sweats his way through bucket after bucket of balls, spending valuable time and money perfecting a range game that inevitably falls to pieces on the course?
Recharging your game means recharging how you practise... and that means making your range work more like golf. Add elements of scoring, challenge, variety and hitting rhythm and your range time doesn't just become more effective; it becomes more fun too. Here's how.
This tip comes from TG Top 50 coach Steve Astle, Advanced PGA Professional at Morley Hayes, Derby and Head of Coaching at East Midlands Golf Academy.
#1: Groups of three
Every ball you hit in practice should be in one of three zones – Technical, Transition and Tournament. In Technical you are rehearsing a move and not worried about where the ball goes. In Transition you become more aware of strike and result. In Tournament you are focused on results. Group balls in threes and hit one for each zone. It makes practice more interesting and effective.
#2: Keep notes
A notebook is a key part of any practise session. Writing down what felt good and what didn't work ensures a notebook becomes a truly valuable resource when you are evaluating your practice and your game. Physically writing down what you are working on also helps crystalise it in your mind, and gives your objectives a lot more substance than a vague mental notion.
#3: Smart play
The modern smart phone has become a fantastic range resource. There are a host of fantastic and cheap-to-download apps that can do anything from tracking your shots to setting your tempo or charting movement of specific body segments. Even if all this sounds a bit techy to you, their simple video and dictaphone options – allowing you to film your swing and describe what you are working on to yourself – are well worth making use of.
#4: 10-ball challenge
It's important to keep an element of scoring and performance in your practice. Do this by having a line of 10 balls lying in wait for when you've finished your groups of three. Create a challenge for yourself – perhaps an imaginary fairway or green – and see how many of your 10 hit the target. Write down the result, work through some more groups of three... then retake your 10-ball challenge. Can you beat your best?
#5: Change it up
Change clubs regularly throughout your practice session. This has two major benefits:
● Changing clubs breaks up the practice, introducing more of a stop-start feeling to the session. This is more akin to the game itself, and helps us find a course rhythm on the range. Be sure to leave your bag a few paces from your hitting station.
● It encourages us to work on different shots and skills, which helps stop practice becoming dull and monotonous.