Are you falsely advertising your practice sessions?

by Jordan on September 7, 2011

These things are the devil!

Learning how to practice at the driving range can be frustrating.

Putting in lots of hours but seeing any results.

If you’re hitting balls on mats, there’s a good reason why you’re not seeing results.

And it has nothing to do with your technique.

Ranger Rick

Ranger Rick is a name given to a golfer who hits the ball really well on the range but doesn’t hit it as well on the course.

A few weeks ago I played a round with an old friend who is just getting back into the game. We grew up playing junior together but he hasn’t played much over the last eight years.

He says that when he goes to the range, he always hits it pure .

If you’re like him, one reason you can’t transfer things to the course is because you’re not simulating a real roundAnother reason is because you’re hitting off mats.

The Problem With Range Mats

I have found that hitting off mats is falsely advertising  your swing and ball flight. Why is this? Mats are forgiving and very firm making it easy to hit off.

If you happen to hit behind the ball two inches, the club will bounce off the mat and you will still make good contact. Now if that isn’t false advertising, I don’t know what is!

This same scenario on grass would result in a shot hit fat or chunky and the ball would fly about half as far.

So if you are hitting off mats and still struggling bringing you range game to the course, then find a range with grass tee decks. I’ve already talked about the need to simulate rounds when practicing in this post. Having the ability to simulate a real life round is essential when practicing.

Golf courses are made of grass and not mats. So stop hitting off mats if you want to play better golf on the course.

Health Concerns

There is another bad thing that comes along with hitting balls off mats.

If you’re a player who hits down on the ball your back and health at risk. When you make impact with the mat it puts a lot of stress on your body. This is because the mat is firmer than grass and chances are there isn’t much padding between the mat and cement underneath. When you strike into the mat it’s like striking pavement and that really hurts!

I know from experience how much hitting off mats can hurt your body.

Back in 2004 when I was working on my game hard to turn Professional, I hit a lot of balls off mats at my home course. A few weeks went by and one day I woke up with a killer pain all along the right side of my lower back. This pain almost caused me to miss my qualifying tournament for the CPGA!

So again if you hit off mats and seem to hit the ball well during practice and not on the links, then try switching to a grass range. It will help simulate a real round of golf so much more so that you can transfer your swing.

Until next time, I hope you have learnt how to practice at the driving range and are going to use ranges that provide grass teeing areas.

They will give you feedback on your swing and ball flight.

Trust me, your body and game will appreciate it!

What Do You Think?

Have you ever felt like a Ranger Rick?


Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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