The biggest mistake amateur golfers make on the range, according to Top 100 Teachers

man hits on driving range

What are the biggest mistakes amateur golfers make on the driving range? We asked some Top 100 Teachers to find out.

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Welcome to GOLF’s Top 100 Teacher roundtable, where some of the best instructors in the business answer the game’s most perplexing questions. The goal? To help your game and lower your scores ASAP.

Going to the driving range is essential if you want to improve. The problem is, not everyone knows what to work on when they get there.

Some people just mindlessly pound balls, while others work diligently on their swings, but without any real game plan. There’s a plethora of issues that can arise from practicing the wrong way, and it can do more harm than good to your game.

Luckily, we’ve assembled a team of experts from GOLF’s Top 100 Teacher list for their insights on the biggest mistakes they see amateurs make. Avoid them, and you’ll be on your way to smarter, better practice.

1. Not practicing the way you play

The majority of golfers on the range use one club, stand in one spot and hit ball after ball without practicing a routine they would use on the golf course. They groove an iron, go play and wonder why they don’t perform on the golf course the way they do on the range. To take your game from the range to the golf course, you must practice the way you play. In learning, each behavior is a link in a chain, not too much unlike the verses of a poem. If you practice only the last three verses of a 12 verse poem, when you recite the poem, you will stumble through the beginning, seldom making it to those last 3 verses. —David Wright

2. Improper grip

Hands down a terrible grip that has little to no chance of helping the club face get square at impact. If you want to practice the right way, you first need to nail the fundamentals. It all starts with the grip. —John Dunigan

3. No target

I often see golfers not picking a target and then going off the first tee where they must hit it to a target. When you’re on the course, you are aiming at targets. The same strategy must be used on the range to get the most out of your practice. —Suzy Whaley

4. No plan

The most common problem on the range is that golfers do not have an organized plan for how they are going to spend their time hitting balls. They need to work on alignment and practice a stock shot monitoring their start line curve and contact of each shot. Most of the time I see them hitting ball after ball just getting exercise but not really getting better. If a player puts down alignment rods and then puts a start line pole out in front of him or her in line with the target to monitor their start lines, then they are off to a good start. If I see a person setting up a practice station then I really know that person is going to get better. Very few if any players practice their pre shot routine on the range either which is something they use on every shot when playing. —Mike Bender

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at