Struggling to find the best way to use your bucket of range balls during practice at the range?
If you’re looking for a driving range practice plan to follow, then you’ve come to the right page. I’m Nick Foy, a golf instructor at Foy Golf Academy and scratch golfer. My website Nick Foy Golf is dedicated to sharing drills and practice plans for you to use to improve your skills.
In this guide, I’m excited to share an easy, simple driving range practice plan for improving your golf swing fundamentals and feeling accomplished with your time spent on the range.
One of the things I learned on my journey to achieving scratch golf was the importance of my driving range practice sessions and making the most of every golf swing rep on the range.
I started planning out driving range practice routines before I would go to the range so that I could have a plan to follow and practice with purpose.
Having a practice plan will make you feel more accomplished when you finish your practice session. You’ll be able to track data and results better too, which in turn will give you insight into what’s working and what you’re still struggling with.
I would recommend paying for some swing lessons in addition to your usual practice on the range, that way you can make swing changes over time during your driving range practice time and get monitored by a coach who can tweak things along the way.
Let’s dive into today’s example driving range practice plan.
Follow this Driving Range Practice Plan
Step 1: Purchase a Medium or Large Bucket of Range Balls
We want to have at least 50 range balls to make a driving range practice session feel productive. This is a good amount of swings to build some muscle memory and gain skill. Ideally 100 swings per day would be even better.
Step 2: Divide up the range balls into sets of 5
Once you’re on the range, divide up your golf balls into sets of 5 and you should have about 10 sets if you have a 50 bucket of balls. This will help you stay organized so you don’t hit too many balls with one club. Once a group of balls is out, it’s time to switch to the next part of the practice plan.
Step 3: Warm up your muscles before making full swings
Next, grab a golf iron and start with warm-up swing that don’t require hitting a ball. Just swing back and forth to get the body moving and warm the arms, hips, and back up as you practice swing.
Getting the blood flowing will help keep the body loose and avoid pulling muscles or injuring yourself during practice. Add in some stretches too if you want to further warm-up the muscles.
Step 4: Do this Driving Range Routine
In this driving range practice, you’ll work on hitting balls with different golf clubs but a few principles will stay the same the entire time.
#1: Set up your camera to film your swing
You’ll want to look back at the footage to see what your swing is doing and you’ll be able to make adjustments. Setup a camera face on so you can film the front of your chest to see how the swing looks from a face-on view.
You can set a second camera up down-the-line by placing it back with your golf bag behind you on the range so it can film the view of the driving range as you hit shots.
#2: Set a towel down a few inches behind the ball
Place a golf towel flat on the ground and set it back a few inches from the golf ball so that your takeaway doesn’t bump into it.
The towel will be used as a feedback tool for each golf swing. If you bottom the swing out too early behind the ball, you’ll hit the towel and ground behind the ball causing a chunked golf shot.
The towel drill helps you practice each rep for ball striking so you can monitor how well you’re striking ball first then turf. You’ll quickly learn how frequently you’re actually hitting behind the ball causing poor contact.
Fix the towel as needed along the way during your 50 reps of hitting.
#3: Complete the following 10 sets of drills on the range:
Every set of 5 shots can be broken down further.
- The first 3 golf swings are focused on hitting the proper distance to your target and trying to hit as straight as you can.
- The last 2 balls are split between 1 draw swing and 1 fade swing trying to work on curving the golf ball. Adjust your grip and stance to hit the draw or fade ball flight.
Sequence for Hitting Range Balls
- Warm up with 7 iron shots
- Hit 5 shots with 9 iron
- Hit 5 shots with 6 iron
- Hit 5 shots with 8 iron
- Hit 5 shots with hybrid
- Hit 5 shots with pitching wedge
- Hit 5 drivers
- Hit 5 wedges to 80 yard target
- Hit 5 wedges to 100 yard target
- Hit 5 wedges to 60 yard target
This is a simple driving range golf practice session to complete. It works a variety of distances you’ll face on the golf course with your longer irons, shorter irons, and wedges.
You don’t hit many drivers but that’s okay because you can use any extra range balls after the initial 50 to work on smashing drives.
Best Golf Drills to Practice at the Driving Range
In each of the three sections, you will focus on different skills. They are as follows:
- Alignment check
- Shot shaping
Those 3 bullets are the three keys to your success at driving the ball onto more fairways. It starts with good alignment to your target followed by your ability to shape shots for different situations and being able to do so consistently.
Alignment Golf Drill
This first driving range drill is going to be the opposite of what most golfers do at the range. Your instinct will be to lay down some alignment sticks to help you get aimed at your target on the range. But the catch here is that you can’t do that out on the golf course.
Instead, you want to set up to the ball and align yourself to the target with no alignment aids just as you would with a real golf shot on the course.
Once you’re set up, lay down your driver on the range as your alignment stick and step away to check how well you had aligned yourself to your target.
Repeat this drill hundreds of times and you’ll begin to pick up subtle things that help you know if you’re aligned properly to your target.
In the beginning, you’re going to learn your tendencies and you’ll notice if you usually align right or left of your target by natural default.
Then you can learn to visually adjust during the setup to straighten yourself out by seeing where your feet, hips, and shoulders are aimed relative to your target.
Variations of this golf drill include videotaping your setup position by setting a camera directly behind you so that it’s facing the driving range. Or, you can have a friend stand back and seeing if you’re aligned properly.
Always shoot yourself from the waist height. If you don’t have enough room behind yourself, set the camera directly in front of you. These two are the best angles to accurately measure your mechanics. Investing in a cheap selfie stick will do the trick. Shaky video footage won’t do you any good!
Once you’ve eyeballed your alignment, it’s time to bring out the big guns! I mean the alignment sticks. This step is just to verify that you’ve measured correctly.
Check out these practice plans with 12 different weekly routines to try.
Shot Shaping Driving Range Drills
After perfecting your alignment, you’ll be set up for straight golf shots to your intended target (fairway or green). But not every shot wants to go straight forward.
Sometimes you’ll be forced to draw the golf ball or hit a fade depending on bunkers, water, and trees that may stand between you and your target landing zone.
To help you build your shot shaping skills, I recommend dividing up your range balls into sets of 10 for 5 different shot types:
- Low runner
- High, soft landing
- Punch Shot using 3/4 swing
This driving range drill is simply hitting 10 shots for each shot type, attempting to successfully shape all 10/10. Test yourself and see where your shot shaping skills are strong and weak based on your scores.
One of the things that have helped me shape my shots is imaging a glass grid in front of me. It can be a basic 9×9 grill. Think of them as brittle windows that you want to break ‘intentionally’. Imagine the middle row of the grid to be your ‘normal zone’ of hitting.
To hit the top grid, you need to give the ball more flight. How do you do that? By moving the ball closer to your inside left foot. Also, opening the club face a little more will help you get the sweet flight to beak the top-middle glass windows.
From there, you can tweak your fades or draws to hit both the right side and the left side.
Do you know what Tiger Woods does when he goes to the driving range? He starts with a lob wedge to loosely shoot the ball. It doesn’t even matter to him where the first ball lands. But after the first landing, he tries to mimic the same shot over and over again. It’s a very mild yet very effective practice drill to improve accuracy.
Do you remember I talked about taking notes of what you’re doing at the driving range? This is where it comes to play. You must note down your progress after each session. The notes will work as amazing insights about your strengths and weaknesses.
When you know what your strengths and weakness are, it becomes easier for you to focus on polishing your skills rather than just playing what you’re good at. Combining your notes and the video clips of yourself will result in very helpful practice sessions.
To learn how to hit a draw, fade, high shot, low shot, punch shot, please read additional articles we’ve written on swing instruction for each type of swing.
Consistency Golf Drill
This final golf drill you should add to your golf range practice plan is intended to help you build consistency in hitting straight tee shots on command and especially under pressure. Reserve this drill for the final section of your practice duration.
This swing drill is also the opposite of what most golfers do.
Usually, you would line up and hit 10 drivers in a row, trying to successfully knock all 10 straight down the middle on the range. But we did that above in the shot shaping drill, hitting ball after ball hoping to draw all 10 successfully in a row.
Instead, this drill simulates real situations faced on the golf course like hitting the driver, followed by 7 iron.
Set aside 28 range balls to simulate hitting 14 tee shots with your driver, followed by 14 approach shots at the green with your irons and wedges.
Here is a sample version of how you could structure your range routine for this drill:
- Driver, 7 iron
- Driver, 5 iron
- Driver, 8 iron
- Driver, Pitching Wedge
- Driver, 9 iron
- Driver, 6 iron
- Driver, Hybrid or Wood
Repeat this again to complete all 28 shots, since each set is 14 shots. Compare your results.
The benefit of this practice drill is to take range practice and make it seem real.
You only get one tee shot so you feel the pressure to hit it straight before moving on to your approach shot with the iron, which simulates hitting it straight at a green by hitting at a green on the practice range.
If you have the luxury of practice on a fancy, high end golf course driving range, they’ll likely have legit-looking greens out on the range to hit to, helping you practice your approach shots proximity to the flag stick. Nice!
Important Tips to Improve Your Driving Range Practice
1. Map Out Your Targets on the Driving Range
Let’s first analyze a typical driving range and how I like to break it down in my mind when getting ready to hit balls.
Most driving ranges have targets at 150 yards, 125 yards, 80-90 yards, and then a longer iron target like 180 yards and 200 yards.
Find the signage that shows how far it is to each of the different greens on the range so you can know which clubs to hit to which targets.
2. Align Yourself to Your Targets with Alignment Sticks
Use alignment rods and start at the longest target like the 200 yard target. This ensures you’re properly aimed at the driving range target so you can judge if your swing was straight or not.
Next I like to visualize a 30 yard wide fairway. Give yourself about 15 yards to each side of the target you are aiming at and visually study the driving range to learn what would count as a ball that hit fairway and what counts as a fairway in regulation miss.
3. Hit Every Shot with a Purpose
As you’re setting up to each golf ball in your range bucket, make sure you assign it a purpose. Don’t just randomly hit balls. You paid money for your range balls so take the time to give each ball a purpose.
This is where following a practice plan can help guide you on how many balls to hit with different clubs and to different distances on the range.
Okay, let’s get into our example golf practice plan now for the driving range.
4. Practice at least 3 times per week
Aim to make it to the golf course 3 days per week so like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for example. Or maybe you’re free on Friday, Saturday, Sunday to get 3 days of practice in a row.
The more frequently you can make it to the driving range, the easier building muscle memory will be. It takes thousands of swings to groove a new swing change.
5. Swing Path Changes
If you want to work on swing path during this practice routine, then use objects like a driver head cover or empty plastic water bottle that you can set down on the ground to act as barriers to keep the golf swing on path in order to avoid hitting the head cover.
For example, if I come over the top and swing from out to in, I can try to correct this by sticking a headcover in the way of my usual path to force me to come from inside on the downswing so that I reroute the club path on the downswing in order to avoid hitting this object I’ve set on the ground to deter my old path.
What If Your Driving Range Doesn’t Have Targets?
I’ve been to golf courses before where they have you hitting out into a smaller field or open grassy area and what we’ve done is setup alignment rods that stick up out of the ground to aim at.
You can even put a pool noodle over the stick to add a bigger more colorful target to aim at if the alignment rod is hard to see from farther away.
How Much Do Range Balls Cost?
Most golf courses have 3 sizes to purchase range balls. The small size costs around$5, the medium size $8 and the large size $11 on average.
How Many Balls Come in a Small, Medium and Large Range Bucket?
A small bucket of range balls usually contains around 30 balls. A medium bucket will have 50-60 balls and a large will be 80-90 balls on average.
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