Most people go to the range and hit a few wedges, a few irons, and then spend the rest of the time smashing driver. Sure, if you’re working on your driver swing that’s fine, but it’s usually not the best club to bring to the range if you’re looking to improve.
As a general rule, you should only bring one type of club to the range when you’re practicing. Spending an entire range session working on your wedges, irons, or longer clubs is how most golfers improve their game the fastest.
If you’re playing a round of golf then obviously it’s different, but most of the coaches I’ve talked to have said that you should work on one area of your game at a time. Spend the majority of your time working on your short game and the least amount of time on your driver, fairway wood, and hybrid.
What is your driving range strategy? In the comments below, let me know what you’ve seen the best results with.
What Clubs To Bring To The Driving Range
When I was new to golf I’d usually bring all my clubs to the range and take a few shots with every club. I’m sure most people do the same, and that’s why most people don’t improve that much.
I think the reason is that most people don’t go to the range with a clear strategy. They don’t work on something specific. Instead, they just hope that someday they’ll get better.
I didn’t really improve that much until I started working on specific areas of my game. I remember reading an article where Butch Harmon was talking about how to practice the right way.
He basically said that you should go to the range and work on something specific. If you’re going to the range 3 times per week then your routine would look something like this:
- Monday: Wedges.
- Wednesday: Irons.
- Friday: Hybrids, fairway wood, driver.
That being said, you wouldn’t want to jump right into hitting your driver when you aren’t warmed up. Spend a little bit of time hitting short chip shots, but the majority of the time should be spent on your longer clubs.
If your range has chipping and putting areas then I’d recommend spending some time there before you hit the range. The short game is the key to good golf (and they’re the most used golf clubs in the bag) and it’ll help you loosen up as well.
The reason why you’d want to do things like this is that it keeps things simple. Just imagine how many different thoughts you’d have to remember if you’re hitting every single club.
You’ll be thinking about ball position, how far you’re standing from the ball, and why your shot shape is different. When you’re only hitting irons, you’ll be thinking less and it’ll be easier to remember and retain what you’re working on.
As an example, I noticed that I was hitting behind the ball with my wedges. I went to the range with a clear plan that I was only going to focus on fixing that one problem. Nothing else was going to go through my mind.
After spending an hour or so messing around with a few things, I realized that I wasn’t keeping enough weight on my front foot and that I needed to move the ball slightly back in my stance.
Fixing those two things made all the difference in the world. If I went and just hit every single club in the bag, I’d have a hard time finding and fixing a specific problem.
What Order To Hit Clubs At The Driving Range
As a general rule, you’ll want to start with your shortest club and work your way up. If you’re going to be practicing with your irons, you’ll want to start with your 9 iron and work your way up to your longest iron.
No matter what clubs I’m working on I’ll usually warm up with my wedges. I’ll start with a few short chips and then hit 3-4 shots with each wedge. It’s just to get warmed up.
I remember watching a video where Tiger Woods was talking about how he warmed up before a round (practice sessions too). He basically said that he always starts with his wedges and works his way up to the driver.
For my irons, I’d start with my 9 iron (after a few wedge shots) and then work my way up to my longest iron. For my long clubs, I’d start with my hybrid and then move to my fairway wood and driver.
How To Practice Irons At The Driving Range
I was looking into how Dustin Johnson practices and it was pretty similar to how Tiger did things. It’s always a good idea to go to the range with a clear thing to work on. Today, let’s assume that’s the irons.
1. Warm up at the putting and chipping area.
No matter what Dustin Johnson was working on, he’d always start the day at the short game area. First, he’d work on his putting and then he’d do some greenside chips. This was just to loosen things up.
2. Hit a few more wedge shots at the range.
Once warmup is over, he’d head over to the range and take a few more wedge shots. He’d like to focus on three different shots, a half shot, a 3/4 shot, and a full shot. Just a few shots will do the job.
3. Start with 9 iron and work your way up to your longest iron.
The final phase is to run through each of the irons and work on whatever it is you need to. Don’t try to fix too many things at one time because it’ll put too many thoughts in your mind. Hit somewhere around 3-5 shots with each club, but what’s most important is to take 2-3 practice swings before each shot.
One thing I thought I’d mention was that it’s probably a good idea to focus on swinging each club the same. Sure, you’ll be standing at different distances from the ball and the ball position might be in a different spot. That being said, you really shouldn’t swing your 5 iron any faster or slower than you would your 9 iron.
How To Practice Wedges At The Driving Range
Dustin Johnson’s wedge practice is a little bit different but it still follows the same guidelines. You’ll still start with your most lofted club and then work your way up. Here’s how things differ.
1. Warm up at the putting and chipping area.
Pretty much all professional golfers will spend the majority of their time in the short game area. You’ve probably heard the saying, “you drive for show, but putt for dough.” Chipping and putting are super important if you want to put up good golf scores.
2. Hit some 1/2 swing (50%) wedge shots.
You’ll then want to head over to the range and hit some 1/2 swing wedge shots. Start with your most lofted wedge and work your way up to the pitching wedge. All you want to focus on here is making solid contact. If you can’t make solid contact on a 1/2 swing, you probably won’t with a full swing.
3. Hit some 3/4 swing (75%) wedge shots.
Once you’ve hit a number of short wedge shots, the next step is to take things up a bit. Taking a 3/4 swing will help you focus on making good contact as well as maximizing accuracy. If you don’t have these two things there’s really no point in taking a full swing.
4. Hit some full swing (85%) wedge shots.
Once you’re making solid contact and the ball is going where you want it to, the next step is to take some full swings. This doesn’t mean swinging as hard as you can, you should never do that. Wedges are control clubs, not distance clubs.
How Many Balls You Should Hit At The Driving Range
When practicing at the driving range, most golf coaches recommend hitting no more than 50-60 golf balls. When you’re hitting balls before your round, the maximum number of balls you should hit is 30 balls.
I don’t know about you, but I used to go to the range and go through a bucket of 100 balls. I’d go through the entire bag and never really focus on a specific strategy. Wonder why I wasn’t getting any better.
Hitting fewer balls but going more often is what’s going to make the biggest difference. Instead of hitting 100 balls, hit 50 balls but take 2-3 practice swings before each shot. I guarantee you that you’ll be exhausted.
I was really curious about how many balls I should be hitting at the range and that’s why I went out and asked 7 different coaches. These numbers came from that. You can read the full article here.
Pretty much none of them said to go and hit 120 balls. None of them said to hit the majority of balls with their driver. Yet, why do you see most people doing that at the range? Maybe that’s why they aren’t getting any better and could be why the average golfer hasn’t improved over the last 25 years.
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