The Best Way to Utilize the Range: Balance Your Time
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Golf facilities are hosting more rounds than ever, and their full tee sheets reflect that trend. With more than 6 million new or returning golfers teeing it up over the past two years, the industry is providing alternative methods of satisfying the golf bug.
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Golf entertainment venues (you know the names) and indoor simulator facilities (opening up everywhere) are drawing many new golfers to the game in the name of technology, socialization and fun. But it is the stand alone driving range and golf course practice facilities that are leading the way in providing outdoor golfing opportunities that go beyond the traditional nine- or 18-hole round of golf.
You can head to you local range for:
- Practice, to hone your playing skills
- Socialization during a time when we need it most
- Time with family, sharing the joy of golf with those who are closest to you
Although the importance of on-course play is undeniable and is being reflected in player development programs, golf ranges are still the go-to destination for golfers seeking game improvement through dedicated practice. In fact, the range has become such a vital component in our efforts to grow the game and provide learning and playing opportunities that there are publications dedicated specifically to that facet of the industry.
Stand alone ranges and golf courses are taking several steps to attract golfers seeking an outlet to work on their game:
- Grass tees - mats serve an important purpose, but you can’t beat practicing off real turf
- Improved targets - whether barrels, poles or actual flagsticks on real or fabricated greens, golfers want to be able to measure the precise distance to various targets on the range surface
- Quality golf balls - this will depend on the type of facility, but better golf balls make for a better practice experience
- Technology - Toptracer Range and TrackMan Range are changing the way golfers practice. With accurate data and many gaming opportunities, golfers are spending more time at the range, hitting more balls and lowering their scores.
Understanding that scores go down faster with improved play on and around the greens, short game areas are filling the void when getting on the course isn't an option. Whether a facility has small putting and chipping greens due to limited space, or expansive versions of both, often including bunkers, multiple greens and room for pitch shots extending to 100 yards, these amenities are popular at private clubs, increasing foot traffic at public courses and driving increased revenue at stand alone practice facilities.
If you’re seeking to lower your handicap in 2022, balance your practice time. On-course play is vital to improve your mental game and course management skills, but spending more time at your local stand alone range or the practice area of your club will provide benefits you didn't expect, and you’ll have a good time “working” on your game.