What’s A Driving Range?

A simple driving range definition: Somewhere that golfers can go and practice their swing by hitting balls at various targets.

What's A Driving Range
Photo S.Millard – What’s A Driving Range

How Does the Golf Driving Range Work?

A golf driving range is a place where golfers can practice their swings and hit golf balls. To use the driving range, golfers need to purchase a bucket of balls of varying sizes depending on what they need. They can hit golf balls onto the range, aim for targets or just practice their swing.

It’s important to follow golf etiquette while using the driving range, by not hitting in a way that endangers others or damages the range. When finished, golfers should return their clubs (if they rented them) and any remaining range balls. Overall, a driving range can be a great spot for golfers to practice their skills.

You will usually have a choice of different bucket sizes. Each bucket will hold a certain number of balls. Usually the more balls you buy the cheaper it is per ball. Many ranges also offer discount schemes for frequent visitors usually via means of a prepaid card that gives you a discount.

Why Is It Called A Driving Range?

A driving range is an area equipped with distance markers where golfers can practice hitting the ball. It is typically a field with a wide-open space or a series of bays where golfers stand and hit balls toward the ‘fairway’. Beginner golfers can use one to hone their skills by hitting the ball repeatedly until they get their technique right. More experienced golfers can work on their form and improve their golf game. Many golf courses have a driving range attached to them, and they can be either indoor or outdoor, making it possible to practice golf year-round. 

Driving Range Bay
Photo Geoffrey Baker – Driving Range Bay

Are the Range Balls Different from Golf Balls?

Range balls may look similar to golf balls, but they are often not quite the same. A golf ball is specifically designed for use on the golf course during play, while range balls are designed for practice purposes on the driving range. Range balls are often less expensive and more durable than standard golf balls, which means they can withstand the high volume of use that they encounter at the range.

However, this durability sometimes comes at the cost of performance. Range balls may not have the same feel or distance as normal retail golf balls, so it’s important for golfers to practice and play with the right type of ball for their needs. Overall, whether a ball is a golf ball or a range ball depends on its intended use and the needs of the golfer. If a driving range is restricted for space you may find that they use limited flight balls which will only travel 75-90% as far as a normal ball.

Usually, more upmarket (expensive) ranges will have better quality golf balls which will make your practice that much more realistic.

How to use the range – James Robinson

What Clubs Should I Use at the Driving Range?

When heading to the driving range, the question of which clubs to use may come to mind. Generally, it is best to bring a few different clubs to practice hitting various shots on the range. When you go to the driving range, the focus is on hitting the ball as opposed to trying to score low like on a course, so the driver, irons, and even fairway woods can be used. It is also important to practice hitting wedges to improve your short game. Practicing with different clubs also helps the golfer improve their swing and muscle memory. Ultimately, it provides an excellent opportunity to practice your swing and short game with various clubs.

While many people spend most of their time trying to hit the driver as far as possible you should really work your way through the bag. Starting with some shorter clubs to warm up before moving to your fairway woods or driver.

How to Practice at the Driving Range?

The range is a great place to warm up for a round or to improve your golf swing. To make the most out of your practice, it’s essential to have a plan. Have a goal in mind, whether it’s to improve your aim or simply to get some swings in. It’s a good idea to use the driving range at least once a week to prepare for your next round of golf. By practicing regularly, you’ll increase your confidence and be ready to hit the fairway with ease.

Don’t just stand there blasting away with one or two clubs even if you are only warming up. Pick different targets to aim at and use different clubs. Try to work on some different golf shots that you know you are likely to need during your game

If you live somewhere that makes golf difficult during the winter then the range may be your only opportunity to hit balls for weeks or even months on end. Using your practice time wisely can pay dividends when the weather improves and courses reopen in the spring.

A typical winter session would see me split the balls up into batches and I’d start with a few pitches aiming for targets up to 100 yards away just to loosen up the muscles.

I’d then run through either even or odd numbered irons picking a different target each time and resetting my address position rather than just raking the next ball into position.

I’d hit a few fairway woods and drivers before warming down by using a few shorter clubs again.

Working On His Game
Working On His Game

What Do You Wear To A Golf Range?

When it comes to what to wear to a golf driving range, it’s all about being comfortable and practical. Unlike playing golf on a golf course, a driving range is more laid-back and casual. As a golfer, you want to make sure that your clothing allows for a full range of motion, especially when it comes to your swing.

Basic athleisure wear like shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers are perfect for a day at the range or somewhere like Topgolf. Make sure to also wear a hat or visor to protect your eyes from the sun, and bring along a light jacket or sweater just in case. Most range users will bring their own golf clubs but new golfers or beginners should know that many will have rental clubs available for you to try the game out.

How many balls should I hit at the golf range?

If you’re an amateur golfer looking to improve your game, there’s no definitive answer to how many balls you should hit at the golf range. Some experts suggest hitting up to 100 balls per session, while others recommend much less.

I always found that 100 balls were plenty! Even if you are looking to make radical swing changes you might be better off breaking your time up into multiple sessions over a number of days rather than trying to hit 500 golf shots in one range session. You are unlikely to see improvement if you are mentally or physically tired!

If you are just there warming up for a round then 25 balls should be sufficient. If you are trying to keep your swing in shape during the winter then you might opt for 100 or so.

Improving your golf is more about the quality of practice than the quantity.

Some people like to say practice makes perfect but practice makes permanent not perfect!

Grass Driving Range
Photo Geoffrey Baker – Grass Driving Range

Are There Any Grass Driving Ranges?

Most public access ranges will use bays with artificial mats. The volume of people that use the range would make it impossible to keep a grass range playable with all the divots that would need to be repaired. Upscale golf clubs may have practice areas with turf bays as they have the budget to maintain such a facility for their members and guests.

Can You Practice Your Short Game?

Some facilities will have a putting green and possibly a bunker so you can work on other aspects of your game rather than just smashing balls at the range cart!

Can I Get A Lesson At The Range?

Yes, most ranges will have a PGA professional or other golf instructor attached who offers golf lessons for a fee. This might range from $5-10 for a group session to $50 or more for individual coaching.

Do Driving Ranges Close In Bad Weather?

It really depends on the range and just how bad the weather is. A bit of rain won’t close your typically covered range but an open-air one might not be the perfect place to be. Snow is likely to cause problems though as it will be tricky to collect all the balls back in.

Drive Shack vs Top Golf: What Is A High-Tech Driving Range?

A high-tech driving range is an innovative way to practice golf. Drive Shack and Top Golf are two stand-alone facilities that offer an interactive experience with technology. At a high-tech driving range like Drive Shack or Top Golf, players hit golf balls from a tee onto a field with distance markers. However, these ranges have added technology to make the experience more engaging, such as screens that allow players to virtually play on different courses or compete with friends. Players can also track their swings and analyze their shots. Overall, a high-tech driving range is a fun way to improve your golf skills and have a good time with friends.

What’s A Driving Range: Summary

If you are looking for a casual place to try out golf or somewhere to hone your skills then pop down to your local driving range.

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