by Jaacob Bowden

If you are out hitting balls at the driving range, one thing you can do to help you prepare for links courses or for hitting trouble shots is to hit various clubs in your bag to the different flags (or targets) around your range.

For example, at my driving range, there are 7 targets inside 130 yards.  One is about 30 yards, two are about 55 yards, two are about 90 yards, and two are about 125 yards.  I’ll hit a couple balls with each club from 4-iron to LW to the 30 yard target and 55 yards targets, I’ll hit 4-iron to SW to the 90 yard targets, and I’ll hit 4-iron to PW to the 125 yard target.  Some days I’ll just do the odd irons, some days I’ll do the even irons.  Each time I try and mix it up a bit.

Some of the benefits include that you are working on your touch and feel, you are hitting to various targets without thinking about mechanics, and you are also practicing trouble shots.  Tiger has been known to do this and I’m sure it’s one of the many reasons he scrambles so well.

On a personal level, this type of practice has benefited me countless times.  The first time I shot 68 with my friends, I was not driving the ball well and needed to hit several recovery shots..including one where I hit a 7-iron under the trees and over some bushes from about 100 yards up to the fringe where I saved par.  Another time when I had my first tournament round of 69, I needed to punch a 5-iron under the trees and over a creek from about 135 yards.  The ball rolled on to the green to 15 feet where I again saved par.

Give that a try sometime!  Hopefully you’ll find that incorporating a little practice like this in to your routine will help lower your scores too.

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