When I am coaching at Horton Park Golf Club, I take many walks along the driving range down to my coaching studio which is situated at the end of the range. I always look around at the familiar faces going about their "practice" sessions or so they think!
From my experience of what I see on a day to day basis, 80% of the people who come to the driving range just hit balls. I would describe this as casually working your way through your bag, hitting a few balls with each club with little or no regard to skill or technique. Now this is all well and good if the purpose of the visit is to warm up for a game where technique should be sidelined and replaced with more feels and ball flight work but i know for a fact these people are there hoping to walk away better players.
So what is practising when on a driving range? When I see the people who I would say are practicing well, there is a distinctly different approach to the session. These people tend to take more time on every shot, more often than not following a pre shot routine like the one they would use on the course. These golfers tend to hit less frequently and stop for reflection more often and tend to use their mobile phone or tablet to record what they are doing and check their feedback. They tend to be more driven by their movements and their rehearsals are more focused on achieving a position or dynamic movement in their swing.
The old saying of quality not quantity I feel could not be more true for a golfer on a driving range. Practice with a purpose and a goal. If your aim is eradicate a certain ball flight then be working on all the moves that negate that bad flight and then evaluate at the end of the session how many of your shots actually did miss with that bad ball flight.
There is no one method that fits all when it comes to practicing as we all have different skill acquisition traits but find a system that works for you and makes you walk off the range feeling like you have progressed a skill.
Brendan Howell, PGA Golf Professional.