The Driving Range Drill – Going from an 18 handicapper to a single digit golfer

28 Jul

My Driving Range Drill

I took up golf at the very ripe age of 23, which sounds fairly young in the grand journey that is life but in golfing terms, that is way too late 🙁

A lot of the golfers I used to tee it up with at the time had been playing golf since their early teens so I had a lot of catching up to do. A 24 handicapper playing with single digit golfers can be very intimidating! So with that in mind, I went to work improving my game…and fast. Below was my regime that I started when I got down to playing off an 18…

I was fortunate enough to have my office located less than a 3 minute drive from The World of Golf in Woodmead, South Africa which is a world class facility (there is nothing close to it anywhere in the UK). So instead of spending just over an hour in rush hour traffic on the way home every evening, I’d spend the time at the range and then drive home in 10 minutes! The following was my driving range drill 3-4 days a week which I’d then put into practice into my Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday rounds 🙂

Disclaimer – this doesn’t include the strength and cardio training I’d do at the gym.

Warm up

A few quick light stretches and then 6-7 practice swings using both my lob and sand wedges. Follow this up 5 half shots with a 7 iron, 5 three-quarter shots with a 9 iron and then 5 shots with a wedge.

Irons

I’d alternate practising odd and even irons every other day so on one day I’d practice my 5,7 and 9 irons and the next I’d practice my 4,6 and 8 irons. I would hit 15 balls with each iron but not in quick succession as most golfer do at the range. Launching balls aimlessly into the distance will help groove your swing but not your accuracy. Pick a spot at the distance for the relative club and visualise that spot as the green (most ranges have greens at common distances) and then try to hit that spot/green with each shot. It’s important to not hit more than 15 balls per club and go through your pre-shot routine before each shot.

Wedges/Pitching

I’d hone my wedges by hitting to distances less than a 100 meters. I would typically hit 50-60 balls using my my Gap, Sand and Lob wedges and then 20 balls to about 115 meters using my Pitching wedge. As with irons, I’d pick a spot and hit to that spot trying to land and stop the ball within a 10 meter radius of a specific spot.

Drivers and woods

You hit your drivers far less than your irons and wedges so I’d hit no more than 20 balls with either my Driver, 3 Wood or Hybrid alternating daily meaning, if hit my Drive on the day before, I’d hit my 3 wood on the day and my hybrid on the next day.

Chipping and putting

This is hands down the most important part of the game so I would allocate 45 minutes to working on this part of the game. I’d spend roughly 20 minutes practising various chip shots like flop shots, bump-&-runs, bunker shots and check shots. And then spend the balance of the time practising putts – long and short.

The above would take me just under 2 hours and I’d then finish up with a quick 9 holes around the little wedge and putt course at the range. I did this religiously for a year and built up a pretty impressive short game and golf game that stood the test of time – I stopped playing for 10 years and after starting up for last summer I’ve been religiously shooting in the low 80s for the past two months.

Happy golfing!

World of Golf - South Africa