Rick Shiels' Ultimate 30-Minute Range Session

In this video, Rick Shiels shares the secret to long-term improvement with his ultimate 30-minute range session

Rick Shiels at Prairie Sports Village driving range
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

A lot of amateur golfers are guilty of hitting balls at the driving range without much thought and calling it 'practice'. The problem is, that won't translate to the golf course when the pressure is on. That's why in the video and article below, Rick Shiels has shared his ultimate 30-minute range session that will help you supercharge your game for the season ahead!

Step 1: The basics & technique - 10 minutes

I've broken it down into three elements I want you to focus on. The first one is about getting the basics right and doing any technical work, both of which are incredibly important as they will give you a great foundation to build upon. Here's what I recommend...

The basics

This is one of the things tour players do regularly, yet amateurs often overlook it. Take two long irons out your bag and set them up as I have here, with one pointing a fraction left of target and the other lying across it so it forms a perfect right angle. This works as a great alignment aid and provides a handy checkpoint to ensure your ball position is in the correct place through the bag.

Rick Shiels setting up to hit a golf shot at Prairie Sports Village driving range

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Once you've warmed up, start with a wedge and hit some shots, ensuring your feet are parallel to the target line and the ball position is roughly in the middle of your stance. Move the ball position forward incrementally as you work up to the driver.

This drill will develop your feel for what a good set-up position should feel like and makes sure bad habits don't creep in. Hit 10 shots in total, stepping out and back in each time to really hone the perfect address position.


Again, this might not be the most stimulating part of a practice routine, but if you want to improve, it's got to be done. The goal is just to get 1% better each time, which will accumulate into long-term progress if you stay committed. 

The first thing to say here is that it's vital to make sure you are working on things relevant to your game and specific faults. If you've never had lessons, investing in some time with a PGA pro will help point you in the right direction. What I'd also recommend is to get some sort of stand for your phone to take videos. These are quite inexpensive and will allow you to monitor your progress properly. 

Rick Shiels at Prairie Sports Village filming his golf swing

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Once you've set that up, make sure and put 100% focus into whatever it is you're working on. Remember, this is the technical segment so don't worry too much about what the ball is doing at this point. 

After every one or two shots, check the video to see how close your feel is to what is actually happening. For me, I'm working on my takeaway in the golf swing to get the clubface to match my spine angle. For you, it's likely something different, so make sure and check it regularly as the feel and the real are almost always different.

Step 2: Skills challenges - 10 minutes

It's now time to test your skills. Before you get started, however, think about what your strengths and weaknesses are and make sure you're not just working on the stuff you're already good at.

Distance control

For me, I struggle from 100 yards and in, so the first game is a distance control challenge. My task here is to hit 10 shots, with each one going gradually further than the one before. You can do this visually at a driving range or if there's a local facility with Toptracer technology, you can set it up to track your distances.

Rick Shiels hitting a golf shot at Prairie Sports Village

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

For the first shot I've set my minimum carry distance at 25 yards so I can't just chip it and make it easy. Check out the video above to find out how many in a row I managed.

Ball flight control

The next challenge is all about controlling trajectory. It's an invaluable skill to possess as it'll allow you to tailor your shot choice to the conditions. For example, if there is a strong wind into your face, it's pretty crucial to know how to play the low punch shot.

Rick Shiels hitting a golf shot at Prairie Sports Village driving range

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

I'm going to start low and work my way up, hopefully hitting each of the 10 shots progressively higher. Again, you can eyeball it or use Toptracer, which I've got at my disposal here at Prairie Sports Village.

I've set the minimum carry distance at 100 yards so each effort has a proper ball flight and I'm using my 7-iron. So, for the first shot I've got the ball back in my stance to keep the peak height down until I'm launching it as high as I can on the 10th and final attempt.

Fairway finder

Then, it's onto the driver, but it's not about swinging for the fences; rather, we're focusing on accuracy. If there are flags laid out, imagine a fairway and try to land as many of the 10 shots in your target area. Or, if you're at a Toptracer destination, this function will be available.

Rick Shiels hitting a drive at Prairie Sports Village

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Driving is one of the best parts of my game but I was feeling the pressure, especially on the final few attempts with a personal best on the line. These are the types of feelings you want when practising as they will help you on the course when you need to execute a particular shot under the pump.

Whatever games you decide to play, keep a note of your scores and try to beat your previous benchmark each time. As for my performance, check out the video to see how many fairways I hit.

Step 3: Pressure practice - 10 minutes

The final game is a head-to-head challenge. It's a great way to finish a range session and adds another layer of pressure as nobody wants to be beaten in these situations. 

Rick Shiels watching on as Guy Charnock hits a shot at Prairie Sports Village driving range

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

You can do things like nearest the pin or long drive challenges, anything really. Even head to the putting green for a showdown to really round off a comprehensive practice session. You can make it a bit spicier and add in a forfeit for the loser, but don't make it too extreme.

Putting these things into practice will really help powerboost your game and set you up for the best season of your life. And when you play better, you'll also have a lot more fun!

Rick Shiels
Top 50 Coach

After turning professional, Rick worked at The Mere in Knutsford before moving to Trafford Golf Centre. It was here where the PGA professional started to film the majority of his content, and his YouTube channel now has over two million subscribers. As well as offering tips and drills, he's an equipment and golf course fanatic, which sees him create a wonderful variety of content for his growing audience. You can listen to Rick, too, with a new episode dropping every Tuesday on the Rick Shiels Golf Show Podcast.