Do you ever wonder why you hit great drives on the driving range but can’t transfer that success over to the golf course during your golf round?
This is a question I began asking myself during my journey to scratch golf and I worked hard to study the cause effect of golf practice as well as lots of trial and error to learn how to make practice transfer to the golf course.
In the article below I will share my results of what I discovered and how you can take your driving range practice session to the golf course and hit good golf shots during your round out on the course.
If you find this driving range drills article helpful, feel free to check out our golf practice plans with 12 weeks of golf practice routines, drills, worksheets that you can follow step by step to improve your scores.
Golf Drills for the Driving Range
1. Stop Hitting Balls with Zero Purpose
The first step to transferring your driving range practice success to the golf course is to cut out hitting range ball after range ball with zero purpose. Hitting ball after ball and watching where it goes on the range does no good for you other than getting you loose and making consistent contact with the ball.
Instead use the follow driving range practice tips in the tips to follow to create a more structured practice plan when you visit the driving range. Hit every shot with a purpose whether it’s working on distance control, working on accuracy, learning how far each of your clubs can hit the ball so you make better decisions on the course next time, etc.
2. Simulate a Hole of Golf on the Driving Range
When you play hole #1 on the golf course, you will likely start off hitting your driver. Then you may grab your fairway wood or iron depending how far left you have to the hole. Then shot #3 might be a wedge and then you finish with a few putts.
Take this same approach on the driving range and simulate like you’re playing a hole on the golf course. Hit the first range ball with driver and then switch clubs.
Make it a game where you give yourself a different par and yardage each time.
Maybe you start with a Par 4 that is 400 yards and simulate how much yardage you’ll have left after you start with your driver on the first shot. Then hole #2 is a 150 yard par 3, so change up where you aim and find a 150 yard target on the range to hit to with your iron.
This gets you away from hitting the same club over and over on the driving range which is something you’ll never do on the golf course so why practice this method on the range?
Instead transfer what you’ll do on the golf course to your range practice and the two will become more in sync with each other.
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3. Same Target, Different Golf Club
This driving range drill has you set up your alignment sticks at a target out on the range, for example, the 150 yard target.
Next you’ll work through your different irons hitting your 4 iron, 5 iron, 6 iron, etc. at the 150 yard target. Each swing you’ll use a different club to change things up and give each shot focus and purpose.
This will help you learn how to hit your irons a specific distance so you have multiple clubs to choose from when you face that distance out on the golf course.
Sometimes course conditions won’t allow you to hit your normal 150 yard club so having experience hitting other clubs 150 yards will benefit you out on the course greatly in these scenarios where strategy is involved to solve a problem. For example, you may face a really windy day or maybe you have wet grass that will take distance off the ball.
4. Same Golf Club, Different Targets
This driving range practice drill helps you build skill with one specific golf club in the bag. Start off aiming at a shorter distance target with your 7 iron, for example. Hit a shot to the 75 yard target, then change targets and aim at the 100 yard target. Then the 125 yard target and so on.
You’ll learn how to hit half shots, three quarter shots, and full swings, to create various distances with the same club.
As you work through this drill, you can change clubs and repeat the drill all over or come back the next range session and work with a new club. Over time you’ll build up skill with all of your clubs.
5. Play Games
One of the best ways to handle pressure on the golf course during your official round of play is to prepare ahead of time by simulating pressure during golf practice.
Games are great for adding pressure to your practice sessions. Setting score objectives and forcing yourself to restart if you fail, adds pressure and helps you build tolerance to pressure so it doesn’t effect you as much during your round of golf.
Playing games on the driving range also can make practice more fun and not as boring as banging ball after ball with no purpose.
6. Practice Your Pre-Shot Routine
It’s easy to forget about the pre-shot routine on the driving range. We hit a shot and see it not do so well and we want to quickly tee up the next ball and try again.
But instead, slow down and take your time. Set up to each shot after going through your normal pre-shot routine. This will build muscle memory and habit and help to transfer your range practice to the golf course.
Golf Resource: Foy Golf Academy Practice System + Practice Plans
7. Create Imaginary Fairways
Most driving ranges don’t have a specific area for working on hitting fairways. Instead they have greens or flag sticks at all different distances to hit to.
So you’ll need to get creative and create an imaginary fairway out on the driving range. Pick a target to serve as the boundary on the left side of your fairway and a target to serve as the boundary for the right side of your fairway.
Then hit drives with your driver trying to keep the golf ball in between these two boundaries to simulate hitting a fairway.
Keep score and track how many fairways you hit out of 14 since this is how many tee shots you’ll usually hit on an 18 hole golf course with the remaining 4 holes being par 3’s.
8. Same Golf Club Different Ball Flights
Another great way to utilize your time on the practice range is to work on hitting different ball flights. In my video The 9 Golf Shot Types to Master, you’ll learn the variety of ball flights that should become part of your skillset.
- High Shots, Low Shots, Mid Trajectory Ball Flight
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9. Practice Wedge Shots to Get Up & Down
Most driving ranges have a few targets at close distances from 25 yards to 75 yards. Use these to practice hitting wedge shots which will improve your short game performance when you get out onto the golf course.
Put pressure on yourself to try and get up and down to save par with each shot. Maybe this requires the wedge shot to land within a certain distance of the flagstick to be counted as a success or if you have nice greens on your driving range then track the shot proximity to the hole by where the ball finishes after rolling.
Keep score and see how many up and downs you can get for a 9 hole game or an 18 hole game.
Once you get out on the golf course you’ll feel much more confident pulling out a wedge from various distances away from the green having practiced on the driving range for this 25-75 yard range.
10. Video Record Your Golf Swings and Range Session
My final important tip for practicing at the driving range is to set up your phone or camera on a tripod so you can record yourself during your practice session.
This will allow you to go back and analyze the footage after practice when you get home so you can see what your golf swing looks like. You’ll be able to see what you’re doing right and wrong when you re-watch the footage and recall certain golf shots you had hit.
You can set up two cameras, one face on and one down the line to get two different angles of your golf swing.
Golf Practice System for Lower Scores
Learn the exact golf practice routines thousands of students at Foy Golf Academy are using to lower their golf scores.
Follow these step by step practice plans and watch video lessons to learn how to improve your golf swing, chipping, and putting fundamentals.
Get access to hundreds of golf drills to practice as well as content on the mental side of golf, fitness plans, worksheets, and many more resources. This is a complete golf practice system.
Nick Foy, Instructor