5 tips to take your practice session to the next level

One of the great things about golf is that every player strives to improve. The improvement is measurable and the opportunity to hit the best shot of your life always lurks around the next fairway.

Many players quickly spend time on the course, but fail to spend time on the driving range or in the short game facilities. Those who go to the driving range may not have a good practice routine and are not making the most of their time. This leads many people to guess why they are not getting the scores they think they are capable of.

The answer is simple: you are not practicing intentionally and with purpose.

Here are five tips for maximizing your time when practicing at the range:

A view of golf balls in baskets at a driving range. Photo by Orlando Ramirez – USA TODAY Sports

Remember to think about quality over quantity every day when hitting balls at 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 workout. Develop a routine to try and apply it to every ball you hit.

2021 Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Ernie Els warms up on the practice field during the first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship golf tournament at Phoenix Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Starting out with your driver on the range is a recipe for injury. Starting out with a club like an 8-iron is a safe bet because it keeps the body in a more neutral position and an easy, straight swing with a solid base.

2022 BMW PGA Championship

Ian Poulter of England practices on the driving range ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on September 06, 2022 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Practicing with purpose means hitting every shot with intention. 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 hit. Put down an alignment stick, or if you don’t have one, use another iron, and make sure you’re tethered to your target.

Open Championship 2022

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas practice their putt on the 16th green during a practice round for the 150th British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland on July 10, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Many golfers focus on how they hit their irons or drivers, but forget where the majority of their shots are coming from. Putting is arguably 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.

Presidents Cup 2022

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 isn’t the best time to try that flop shot you’ve never played before. The course isn’t the time to try new shots when you’re trying to shoot a low score, so master it ahead of time when you practice. Spend time learning how to hit a low roll or high spin shot. Try playing with different clubs in the bag and practice hitting on different types of grass.

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