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Deciding What Clubs To Take To The Driving Range

One thing I hear all the time is a new golfer who wants to practice their swing but gets to the range, looks at their bag, grabs a random club, and starts swinging away without some kind of purpose.

Don’t be that person. You need a plan. I’ll try to help you with that.

If you want to learn 7 steps you can take immediately to improve your practice range sessions, then check out this Driving Range Practice Guide.

What Is The Best Club To Use At The Driving Range?

This is where most people start when trying to decide what clubs to take to the driving range. But it is the wrong question to ask.

The short answer is that there is no best club to use at the driving range. That’s the same as asking a quarterback what the best play to run is.

It depends.

It depends on your goals and what you want to accomplish during your driving range session. Here are a few ways to approach a driving range session…

  • Do you want to work on the mechanics of your swing?
  • Do you want to work on a specific type of shot that is giving you trouble?
  • Do you want to increase your distance?
  • Do you want to learn your yardages?
  • Do you want to practice on course strategy and work on your mental game?

These are all great goals for a practice range session! Unfortunately, most golfers just get there and think, “I want to work on my game.”

Come Up With A Plan

Most ranges these days will just let you bring your whole bag. Usually, that is the best way to go. Handling loose clubs is an easy way to end up scraping or damaging them. I tend to avoid ranges that don’t allow bags. To me, that tells me they are not interested in being a practice area for golfers.

That being said, you may not have a choice.

But even if you can bring the entire bag, that doesn’t mean you should just start randomly choosing clubs and blasting shots down range. You need a plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here are the three steps I take before every range session to make sure I am focused and get the most out of my practice session…

Step 1: Target An Area Of Improvement

Before you make a plan, you need to decide what you want to work on.

If you play often then you probably have a decent idea of what parts of your game need improvement

Step 2: Establish A Plan To Work On That Area

There are 1000s of driving range games and drills that you can use to target certain aspects of your game. Far too many to go over in this article. When choosing drills, the best ones will isolate a single aspect of your swing of your game.

The best advice I can give here is to focus on one thing at a time. At some point in your practice routine, you are going to hit a bad shot and think to yourself, “hey, I need to fix that mistake.” Try not to let that distract you from what you are working on at the moment. If you really want to get back to something later, then write it down and get back to the task at hand.

Lastly, make sure you record your results somewhere. Keeping track of your progress has a few benefits. First, you’ll know when you are improving at something so you can focus on something else at the next driving range session. Second, it will keep you focused and motivated.

Step 3: Just Bring The Clubs You Need

Given the title of this article, this is what you came here to find out. Now that you know what your plan is…club selection is easy. You should know exactly what clubs are needed to carry out your practice plan.

Again, that doesn’t mean you need to leave the bag at home or in your car. But once you get to the range, do your best to limit yourself to the plan and keep focused.

Group Your Clubs To Make The Choice Easier

One thing that I do to make the planning part easier is by thinking of my clubs in terms of groups rather than individual clubs. That way there are fewer choices when narrowing down the plan and no matter what the plan is, it gives me a little bit of variety.

Here’s how I break it down…

(your setup may vary and you can make whatever categories you want but this should give you a good guide to work from)

ClubCategories/Shot Types
DriverDriving, Tee Shots, Long Game
3 WoodTee Shots, Long Game
HybridLong Game, Long Irons
3 ironLong Irons
4 ironLong Irons
5 ironMid-Irons
6 ironMid-Irons
7 ironMid-Irons
8 ironShort Irons
9 ironShort Irons
Pitching WedgeShort Irons, Chipping
Sand WedgeShort Game, Chipping, Sand Shots
Lob Wedge Short Game, Chipping, Sand Shots
Make sure to have a plan when deciding what clubs to take to the driving range.

Some Frequently Asked Driving Range Questions

Do You Have To Bring Your Own Clubs To A Driving Range?

Probably not. Most ranges will have loaner clubs for you to use. They are usually demo versions of the clubs that they sell in the pro shop if they have one or they are old beat up clubs that have probably been left there over the years and never claimed. Just call ahead to make sure they have loaners for you to use. Not every range does.

Using loaner clubs at the driving range is a great inexpensive way to try out the sport of golf. However, it’s not a great way to practice if you usually play with your own clubs. Even if your clubs haven’t been fitted specifically for you (FYI…they should be), you are still used to playing with them. Practicing with different clubs is going to give you a different feel, different ball flight, and different results.

So if you want to practice and improve your game, then you should being your own clubs to a driving range, but if you’re there to have fun or try out the game, then loaner clubs are a great option.

Can I Use Wedges At The Driving Range?

Yes. You can use wedges at almost any driving range. Even ranges with artificial turf typically have no problem with you hitting wedges. You should be aware though, that wedge shots can be affected by the type of turf you are hitting off of. You can hit the ball a little fat (meaning hitting the ground behind the ball before the ball) on artificial turf and still end up with a decent shot. So be aware when practicing your wedge shots that real grass ranges are the best place to work on your short game.

Can I Use My Driver At The Driving Range?

It depends. Some ranges are not large or long enough to accommodate shots from the distance clubs like the driver, woods, hybrids, or even long irons in some cases (despite the fact that it is called a “driving range”). You should always follow the rules about which clubs you can use at a range. Often, they are there to protect people that may get injured if you hit a ball outside of the range area.

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