What is a Driving Range in Golf?

driving range

What is a Driving Range in Golf?

A driving range is typically a part of a larger golf practice facility that includes sand traps, greens, and a pro shop. The driving range is a large open field with yard markings showing how far your ball is hit.

Players can tee off from mats with rubber tees or place a tee on the ground in the open field. If hitting from tee marks on the open field area, they can hit directly off the turf to practice shots they will encounter from the fairway on the course.

Let’s take a closer look and answer some questions about a driving range. 

How Big is a Golf Driving Range?

The width of the range can vary. The field that makes up the driving range should have a yard marker at 250 yards and extend at least 50 yards beyond that. Some ranges are parts of the golf course in the practice area away from the first tee and are generally not as wide as stand-alone facilities. Those facilities often have mini-golf courses and snack shops to create a fun-filled experience for the entire family.

How Does the Golf Driving Range Work?

When arriving at a driving range, you will typically enter a building such as a pro shop to pick up range balls, which come in various size buckets ranging from about 35 or 40 to 80 or 90 balls. Generally, there are three different size buckets to choose from. If you didn’t bring your clubs, you could rent clubs to use on the range.

Once you have your balls and clubs, find a spot on the range from which you wish to hit. Try to keep at least one space away from the next person hitting to give them extra space and privacy. That isn’t always possible on a day when the range is very full.  

Start hitting away. You might see a tractor driving around the field picking up the golf balls, so you need not worry about chasing after them after hitting them. 

Are the Driving Range Balls Different from Golf Balls?

There is no question that range balls are different than standard balls used on the course. They are pounded repeatedly and therefore are made of more durable material.

The dimples are less identifiable, making them not as accurate and likely to travel a little less distance than a ball right out of the sleeve you use on the golf course. Consider that when trying to determine how far you hit each club. 

Are The Driving Range Balls Bad for my Golf Clubs?

Nothing about the construction of a range ball will damage your clubs, no matter how often you go to the range and hit them. You might do more damage to your body if you pound bucket on top of a bucket of balls, particularly if you haven’t warmed up properly or haven’t played for some time.

How Long Are The Sessions at The Driving Range

The answer to this question depends on the player. A beginner might take an hour at the range in a golf lesson with a professional working on how to line up shots and the basic fundamentals of the swing.

You should take your time between hitting shots, not just pound away as fast as possible. Not only is going to the driving range a fun activity, but it’s also a time to work on your game, so take as much time as needed between each swing.

You should pretend you are on the course and go through your same pre-shot routine before each swing. With each shot, you can think of playing a particular hole, from tee to green—the first shot with a tee, the second from the turf, and so on. Aim for the yard markers or flags that are placed throughout the range.

How Often Should You Go?

This depends on what you want to accomplish. Beginners should look to go a couple of times a week before heading to the course, particularly if it’s the beginning of the season and you haven’t picked up your clubs for some time.

More serious golfers, like top amateurs and touring professionals, will hit the driving range before and after the round. Using the range is a perfect way to warm up and work on areas of the game that were troublesome during the round.

Are There Specific Clubs I Use at the Driving Range?

Many beginners pick up a driver, any driver, and start pounding away. While this might be fun, it doesn’t help improve your overall game. The more serious golfer will take their entire bag of clubs, start working with their shorter clubs with wedge shots and progress through their irons, finishing their session from the tee where several swings with the driver.

Make note that when practicing right off the grass, be conscious of taking a proper divot at nearly the same spot each time. Be sure the divot is after hitting the ball. Making a divot before hitting the ball means you are hitting it “fat” and will get less distance and inconsistent results. 

What is Top Golf?

Although like a traditional driving range with yard markers, pins, and numerous sets of teeing areas, Top Golf is a game where you can play against family and friends.

It’s a driving range that adds lights and targets and scores awards with the swing. The idea is to get the ball into the target greens. For amateurs to unwind and have fun with family and friends, professionals can also benefit from Top Golf to work on accuracy.

One of the best parts about Top Golf is that you can enjoy some excellent food and drink while playing. Top Golf can provide a day’s worth of fun for groups of friends or an entire family.

Where Was The First Golf Driving Range?

In Pinehurst, North Carolina, a course was designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1913. There was a designated practice facility on the course, from which an estimated 10 million balls are hit annually. Named “Maniac Hill,” this driving range is one of the earliest practice facilities in the United States. 

How to Practice at the Driving Range?

Don’t go to the range with the idea of just gripping and ripping the ball as far as possible without regard to accuracy. While everyone loves to hit the ball far, distance without accuracy won’t help your game if you are heading to the course.  

If you watch any of the better golfers practice, you will see them practicing their distance control and aim. Think of the 100, 150, 200, and 250-yard markers as pins, and try to hit your club as close to those markers as possible. This will help your aim and distance control and give you an idea of how far you consistently hit each shot.

Be aware that range balls tend to go shorter, so if you hit a range ball 200 yards with a four iron, you can probably hit the ball you use on the course 200 yards with a five iron under the same wind and weather conditions. 

Conclusion: What is a Golf Driving Range?

A golf driving range is a practice area that enables players to work on specific shots, from wedge play through the irons and the driver. Golfers can practice as little or as long as they want without the concern of picking up any of the balls they strike.

It’s an excellent place for beginners to take lessons to work on their game and for professionals to warm up before a round and fine-tune their games afterward. No matter your golf playing ability, any player can have fun and find it worth their time and money to head to a driving range on a regular basis.