GM Top 25 coach Rick Shiels shows how to get the best out of your practice
Driving Range Tips: Rick Shiels’ Ultimate Practice Session
Every golfer yearns to play better, and these off-season months are the ideal time to work.
on your game to give yourself the best chance of doing that in 2018.
But how best to practise? Some have more time to devote to it than others, but the beauty of my ultimate range practice session is that it works equally well however much time you have to spare.
I’m not going to tell you how many golf balls to hit in your range sessions. I want it to be based on the time you have available, and I want you to split that time into three equal sections: Master the Mechanics, Own the Ball Flight and The Test.
You might have an hour and a half; you might only have 30 minutes. Whatever it is, split your time into three equal sections.
Driving Range Tips: Rick Shiels’ Ultimate Practice Session:
Master the Mechanics
Alignment and ball position
Put down an alignment stick for every single shot you hit in these first 20 minutes.
Once you have set your alignment, keep checking it – and remember, it’s not just your feet but also your knees, your hips and your shoulders.
Don’t have the club or stick right up by your toes, as it’s easy to knock it slightly as you swing.
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Use this time to monitor ball position, too. With your driver, it should be just inside your left heel; with your pitching wedge it should be near the centre of your stance.
If you’re working up from your wedge, the ball should move a little towards your front foot with each longer club.
Not just one club
As you do this, it’s important to keep changing clubs.
Start with a lofted sand wedge and make sure your alignment and ball position are perfect.
Move on to a 9-iron and do it again, and then perhaps a 5- or 6-iron before finally a few shots with the driver.
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Try to make every ball last a minute, too – in other words, take your time rather than just smashing ball after ball down the range.
Go through your pre-shot routine and actually take practice swings as you try to really master those mechanics. At this stage, it’s not so much about ball flight but your golf swing.
Monitor the strike
How you’re striking it is important, too, and you can check this using one of the cheapest training aids on the market – foot powder spray!
Apply it to the clubface and when you hit the ball, it will leave a mark in the white mist that clearly shows where you’ve made contact.
You can instantly tell if you’re hitting it in the centre, or more out of the heel or toe.
Impact tape does exactly the same job, but the spray works better in wet conditions.
Record your swing
If you’re working on anything with a golf coach or via instruction from Golf Monthly or my YouTube channel, this is a great opportunity to record the new movements and see how you’re doing.
A selfie stick with a stand is the ideal option, and I would advise always recording your swing at waist height from directly behind or square on.
Never record from too high or too low.
For all of Rick Shiels’ tips, watch the video at the top of the page. You can visit his YouTube channel here.
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