Going to the range? Focus on these 3 things if you want to get better

A golfer on a driving range.

Here are three keys to improving on the driving range.

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I spent two long days in November roaming the range at Pinehurst Resort asking some of the best golf teachers in the world tips for amateurs to get better. The most common answer was a predictable one: amateurs don’t practice properly.

But there are layers to that and, more importantly, ways to fix it. Here are three things amateurs must do on the range if they want to get better, according to Matt Wilson, a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and the director of instruction at Baltusrol.

Practice with intent

“I would say most amateurs do not practice,” Wilson said. “I see a lot of recreational golfers going out with no intent. They are just going to hit balls — they are not going to practice. Practice implies a concerted effort to improve in some capacity or in one facet of the game.”

The fix: Don’t just mindlessly hit balls. Find a range target and aim at it, not in the vicinity of it. Go through your pre-shot routine. Don’t rush it. Double check your alignment. There are countless ways to make sure you are practicing properly. Here’s another:

Get feedback

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to not practicing correctly, Wilson says, is practicing in the absence of feedback.

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“What if you turned in your math homework and never got it back with a green check mark or red X?” Wilson said.

His point is a simple one: That swing change you are working on? You can’t see if you are actually progressing toward a positive change if you aren’t practicing with feedback. You can start small by using something like alignment sticks, but the best option is to rig up a phone to record your swing or have someone record it for you. The slo-mo technology does wonders to help dissect the golf swing — and see if you are on the right track.

Frequency over duration

You had a good range session? Great. Now don’t skip the next one. Wilson says another major issue amateurs struggle with is having too much time between practice sessions.

“I always say frequency over duration,” he said. “Practice more often for far less, assuming there’s intention and feedback, and you are going to see a lot faster progress.”

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.