Driving Range Darkness
Just because you might not be able to see the ball doesn’t mean you can’t still go to the driving range! This blog is about three of the main things I’ve been doing on the driving range after work in the limited light.
The key is “deliberate practice.” There is no point firing through a basket of balls without checking your swing, aiming at different targets (if you can see any!) or hitting different types of shots (as you get more advanced) because this helps build your confidence for when you’re out on the course and faced with a situation where you need a shot that you’ve been practising.
As you can see, the photos and videos below were taken in daylight to make them a bit more useful! I should give credit to my mum for taking the pictures and videos for this particular blog. I was a bit bossy though so not sure she’ll offer again…
The first thing I’ve been checking when I get on the range is my posture and balance at address. I check that my weight is on the balls of my feet and that my feet are shoulder width apart. This should put me in an athletic, dynamic position.
The best way for me to set this up is to stand upright with my feet just less than shoulder width apart and then I set the shaft of a club across my hips. From there, I bend my upper body forward so that I feel my weight transfer to the balls of my feet and then flex my knees.
The test for me to check that I’m balanced is that someone else shouldn’t easily be able to push me over if they stood face on.
At the top of the backswing (as a right-handed golfer), I check that I have more weight over the middle of my right foot.
Finally, on the downswing, the momentum of the swing should uncoil my body and move almost all of my weight onto my left foot.
I have sometimes practised taking swings with my eyes closed just to focus on my balance and feel where my weight is transferring rather than how I am making contact with the ball.
My dad was on the range with me at one point and noticed I started to hinge my wrists a bit too early on the takeaway, which could later cause problems by making my swing go off plane.
The drill I use to fix this is to set up a ball and then place another ball a couple of inches behind the ball I’m about to hit. At the start of the takeaway I push that second ball back and this helps slow down my takeaway and not hinge my wrists too quickly.
If you’re on the range, make sure you won’t cause anyone to trip over when you hit the second ball!
At the moment, I regularly use 10 clubs in my bag. On the driving range, I’ll hit 5 balls with each club working up from my sand wedge to my driver and then back down the clubs again. In total I’ve therefore hit 100 balls but practised with all my clubs.
Starting with my wedges helps warm my body up and, if I can, I’ll put an empty basket a few yards in front of me and aim for that. I find that as you work back down the clubs each shot becomes easier/more free flowing than the shot with the previous club because you’re using a shorter club each time.
During these evening range sessions, I can’t see where the longer shots are going but I’m just getting a feel for the swing and also listening out for the sweet noise when I hit a solid shot.