Practice on the Range Like You Play on the Course

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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Are you a better ball striker on the range than the course? Most of us will answer a quick ‘yes’ to this question. There are a number of reasons for this, such as: there is not any pressure on shots on the range; there is not as much trouble on the range; and the answer I believe sums it up best is, “I am hitting the same shot over and over again”.  

On the course you get one shot at it. On the driving range most of our practice is spent hitting 10-30 shots with the same club to the same target. You don’t change clubs, lies, alignment or aim. With enough repetition we can get even our bad swings more online with the target. This is not going to help when going to the course.

Practice on the range like you play on the course. During an average round of golf shooting 85, you will hit approximately 42 full swing shots. You will have approximately 32 putts, and if you hit 7-9 greens you will have approximately 11 more short game shots.

Go to the practice tee and imagine your favorite golf course. Get out your driver and tee off the first tee. How was your tee shot? Play the second shot you would have with the tee shot you just hit. Would you have hit the green with that second shot, if not you now have some sort of short game shot coming up. Save putting for after you finish this session on the tee. Now, go to hole number 2 and play on. Continue this practice session just like this all the way through the 18th green. Now you have made yourself practice like you play. At the end of your 18th hole you can now stay on the range and finish your bucket of balls with the shots that you hit the worst during your round of golf played from the practice tee.  

At the end of your session on the tee, go the putting green for at least 15 minutes of putting using this same type of practice method. Start with the long putt and putt until you hole it. Don’t stand in one spot and hit 6 balls to one hole. Mix it up.

Finally you need some time on the chipping green working on the chip and run, lob and bunker shot.

You have now completed a great practice session, and with a few more practice sessions like this you are ready for the course and ready to lower your score. 

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at