Tee-to-Green: A PERFECT driving range routine optimizes practice time

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

My Tee-to-Green golf tip this week focuses on making the most of your time at the driving range by implementing the PERFECT routine.

Tee-to-Green is my weekly Friday golf tips column that zeroes in on one aspect of the game and helps you trim a few strokes off your card. This week I’m focusing on getting you, the golfer, to hone in on your practice. If you aren’t practicing correctly, are you even improving?

When you get to the range, you are not there to simply hit balls. You are there to work on something. Something specific. The first thing you should be thinking about when considering your driving range is practicing efficiency. What is it that you have to work on? Well, that is up to you. But pick something. Again, something specific.

Just like when playing an actual round of golf, too many thoughts can crush your performance. Keep that mindset when heading to the range. You are not going to fix all of your problems with one range session. Rather, think about how to better a single aspect of your game that you need to work on. That is the key.

When I am practicing at the range, regardless of what I am working on that day, I end with a great routine. It is what I would consider the PERFECT routine.

Now I say “end with” but I really take half of my balls work on one thing, and use the other half to go through this routine. For the sake of explanation, we can use the example of having 35 balls left in your bucket. If you have more or less to hit, then you can take the percentage and apply it to your amount.

Note: For this routine, make sure to go through all of your normal pre-shot routines you’d normally go through

The goal is to work through your bag. So first off, grab the big stick. Your driver. You are going to hit 5 balls with it. Try to pick out two objects and create a fairway between them in your mind. You might feel like that is a scarce amount of driver swings, but again, go through your normal routine. It’ll take longer than you think.

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Next, grab a mid-iron. I use a 7-iron when getting to this part. You are hitting 10 shots with this club. Now, what you are doing here is thinking about hitting onto a green. If your range has a target area that works, use the club that correlates to that distance. Don’t just think about the shot. Try to picture your approach to the ball as if you are walking over to it like on the course. Remember to go through the entire pre-shot routine you’d normally go through. Make sure your mind is focused.

You have 20 balls left now. What to do with them? Two words, short game. The most important part of golf.

This is where it gets interesting, and fun. You are going to split those 20 balls into 4 different yardages. 25 yards, 50 yards, 75 yards, and 100 yards. You will cycle through the distances. So, it is not 5 straight 100-yard shots. It is 100, then 75, 50, 25. Then you start back up at 100 and do it over. Take your time with this variation of the random practice schedule model. It can truly change your short game, trust me.

Here is how it should look:

  • 5 Driver
  • 10 Irons
  • 100, 75, 50, 25 yards (5x)

Sounds simple, I know. However, if you do it correctly and focus on what you should be focusing one, it will pay off. I am noticing my consistency increasing by doing this, especially within 100 yards.

Next: Tee-Green: Aiming your shots

Hope you enjoyed this installment of my golf tips series Tee-to-Green. If you have any requests for upcoming weeks, feel free to let me know! And remember, “The road to success is always under construction.” – Arnold Palmer