'I can hit it great on the range....... why does it go so wrong on the course'?

I hear this a lot, mainly from low handicappers but all club golfers tend to be prone to this ‘disease’. The ability to swing with pure freedom and ease on the driving range, a mountain of pristine golf balls just waiting to be dispensed from the bucket and struck down an area of vast grassland and no hazards whatsoever bring very little consequence to the shot. We can hit the worst shot possible, but the worst thing that can happen to us is the embarrassment of a poor shot if someone on the range is watching.


There is no real consequence to our shots on the range. We won’t get punished a shot if it goes out of bounds, we won’t lose our shiny brand new Callaway ball in the water on the range, we won’t look like a fool if we’re searching through endless rough and strike a tree on what feels like every hole on the range. There just isn’t the same atmosphere and mindset on the range that’s needed for the golf course due to the fact there is simply a lot less pressure on the range than compared with out on the golf course, far less consequences.

For all you hard-core practisers out there (come on, admit it!) who go the range or practise area everyday……… I salute you! Although you need to improve your routine if you are prone to this very common disease of super range play but not demonstrating this on course.


I told this story to a 14 handicapper. Good player, but couldn’t quite get down to that elusive single figure handicap he’d been working towards his almost 20 years of playing the game. It wasn’t his technique that was the issue……. It wasn’t his short game that was the issue…… it was how he practised that was the issue. He just aimlessly hit balls, not even picking a target on the range to aim at. He was purely practising his swing, not hitting shots.

Now some of you will say that’s fine and I agree, sometimes you have to work on your swing on the range, especially when you’re working on changes with your coach. But, when you’re technique is good (and this guys was) you need to start thinking of the shot rather than the swing. MAKE YOUR PRACTISE TOUGHER THAN YOUR PLAY. Set challenges, pick targets, curve the ball, challenge your friends, make it hard and put yourself under pressure on the range. You’ll have fun in doing so and, when it comes to the course, you will relish those tough shots over water or tight pins hugging the deep rough as you’ll have practised the mindset you need for these on the range.

And the 14 handicapper? He got down to single figures within 8 months of practising better habits and thinking about the golf shot rather than his swing.