A few weeks ago a friend asked me a question, "What is the correct way to practice at the driving range?" Although I knew the answer right away for him I wanted to take some time to observe others. The purpose was to see how many golfers actually practice or just go hit golf balls just to hit golf balls.
While observing others at 5 different golf courses I tried to watch those that were on the driving range but not about to play golf. The main reason for that is you should never practice before you play and many people are just getting loose on the range before they play. That being said I was surprised at the number of golfers that were "practicing" and not playing. Out of the 100 golfers I observed on driving ranges not playing golf I only observed about 5 golfers actually practicing. All the rest were just going through a bucket of balls just hitting one after another going through every club in their bag.
Why bring all that up? Even the golfers I saw practicing were not practicing with purpose. Yes, I could tell they were working on specific things in their golf swing but at the same time, they were working on nothing. Using alignment sticks is a great way to work on alignment but if they are not set up properly or just used while you hit ball after ball you really defeated the point of using them.
To practice with a purpose it is best to track your stats while playing golf. I prefer The Grint but any app that tracks your stats is better than nothing. Stat tracking will tell you your strengths and weaknesses. When you know these then you know what you need to work on during a practice session at the driving range. For example, let's say you find you struggle with shots inside 100-yards. Find targets at the driving range to work on that yardage. This does not mean grab one club and hit at a 100-yard target. Find different targets at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100. Try different clubs at each yardage as well to get a feel for different options when you play golf. You can even go as far as trying to hit every club, up to a 6-iron, to carry to your 100-yard target.
I know time may be limited for some to practice but what you really do not want to do is try and work on everything in one session. If you are having trouble with your 140-160 yard clubs there is no need to hit anything longer than those clubs like your driver. Yes hit some wedges and smaller clubs to loosen up but that's it. Once loose work on specifics.
The most beneficial way to know how to work on specifics would be to see a golf instructor and have them help you with a strategy and some drills to help you. If you don't have time or can't afford an instructor as long as you keep stats or know something you need to work on you can find some drills to do online. Like the tips, I did on Putting and Green Reading. From impact drills to path drills you can find them somewhere online. However a word of caution, There is a ton of information out there, and just because you know what you need to work on does not mean that a specific drill someone says can help does not mean it is right for you.
Make sure you know what is right for you when it comes to what you need to practice. A perfect way to do that is using a training aid that has a membership option with hundreds of instructional videos and more to help your game. Give GolfFOREVER a look. For a very limited time, you can get 3 months of membership FREE with purchase and get FREE shipping with code GOLFNOLA. If that's not your thing just make sure you make the most of your practice sessions and make them productive and with purpose. I will do a full video on this in late April for you.