This question was brought up to me by a guy friend of mine that I play golf when I’m in California. Which do you prefer, range practice or on-course practice? And as I was explaining my answer I realized that to me this is something that is so natural because I practice every day, it’s my job. So what’s the difference? Isn’t practice just practice? I thought I’d go through why you would want to be on the range or why you would want to be practicing on-course. Practice is practice. It’s all connected of course but depending on what you are trying to accomplish, one type of practice may benefit you more at different times.
Range Practice Benefits
This seems to be a favorite of most golfers. It’s definitely viewed as the least time consuming since you don’t have to be on the course for up to 4-5 hours. For me, there are specific reasons that I want to spend time on the range though. When I go to the range, I’m going because there are things that I’m trying to change or adjust in my swing. Or I’m going to continue to groove a change and get comfortable with it. This is something that is so hard to do on course. The golf course is not the place to work on your swing because there are too many other variables.
What if you can’t get to the range on a regular basis to practice like this? Mirror work is really beneficial for this kind of work. And practicing with an impact bag is one of my favorite ways to work on changes. This kind of practice also allows you to work on your swing with intention over just repetition. This is a good chance to work on things that you’ve discussed with your instructor.
On-Course Practice Benefits
This kind of practice is different for me. When I choose to practice on course, I’m working on course management usually. And that does take practice! Learning which side of the tee box is better visually takes playing different tee boxes and holes. Playing from different lies with different grasses and lengths. Putting from different angles and speeds on the course. All of these things can be difficult to do just at the range.
Depending on what I have coming up or how comfortable I feel with different aspects of my game, will change how I practice. Usually when I’m approaching a tournament I spend more time utilizing on-course practice. It allows me to stop thinking so mechanically and more about working my way around the course and about scoring. If I have some time between events, I will adjust and spend a little more time at practice facilities to work on mechanics.
Are you a range rat or do you only practice when you’re out playing on the course? Let us know in the comments below!