Driving Range Golf Practice Drills
Many golfers visit a driving range to work on their swing, but trying to hit a bucket of balls as far as possible by using a driver isn't the best way to improve. Golfers serious about working on their swing mechanics can find a more productive way to spend that time at the driving range. One approach is to use a few simple drills to help focus your practice time.
1. Baseball Drill
One problem many players have that keeps them from unleashing the full power of their swing is the inability to transfer power from one side of the body to the other during the swing, according to PGA professional Jeff Yurkiewicz. To help remedy this, try the baseball drill at a driving range.
HOW TO DO IT: Set up a ball on the tee for a normal tee shot. Pick a club you're struggling with and take your standard stance in front of the ball. As you take the club back, pick up your left leg — or right leg if you're hitting left-handed — as if you are a baseball player preparing to swing.
Complete the backswing and plant your foot back on the ground as you start your forward swing down and through the ball. Take as many swings in this manner as necessary to feel the proper weight shift. When the movement becomes comfortable, try swinging without lifting your leg but continuing the same transfer of power.
2. Wedge Drill
Strange as it may seem, a driving range can help a golfer work on his short game. One approach is to take only the wedges in your golf bag and do a simple wedge drill.
HOW TO DO IT: Divide a bucket of balls into three groups for the three standard wedges in your bag. If you have more or fewer than three wedges, divide the bucket accordingly. Pick a target on the range and start with one wedge.
Hit all the balls in that group with the wedge, focusing on getting the ball as close as possible to the target. Take the second wedge and pick a new target, following the same process. Complete the drill by using the third wedge to aim at a third target. By focusing on the variety of clubs, you’ll get a better feel for how to hit each wedge.
3. Bucket Drill
The bucket that holds range balls can also help refine the golf swing. The bucket drill helps players who struggle with coming down sharply on the ball during the swing. It also helps widen the backswing, swing and follow-through.
HOW TO DO IT: Place the opening of the bucket on your chest and grip the golf club normally. The bucket will prevent you from getting the arms too close together, which often is the reason for a sharp downswing.
Take several practice swings with the bucket on your chest, held in place by your arms, then remove it and hit two or three balls. If you feel your swing turning sharp again, put the bucket back on your chest and take a few more practice swings until you get the right feel for a proper swing.
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.