Do you struggle to take the good ball striking from the driving range onto the golf course?
Why is that? Well, the range is about 150 yds wide and you have an endless supply of ammo. If the first shot didn’t work maybe the 15th one will.
The 9 ball challenge
My golf coach, Russell Evans set me this driving range “9 ball challenge”. Start with a warm up by hitting, say 10-20 shots.
Then define the fairway using distance markers on the driving range (say 50 yds wide to begin with, then narrow down on subsequent games to 30 yds)
Next, set aside 3 sets of golf balls; the first set has two balls, the second 3 and the third set 4 balls. In addition you have one mulligan.
Then select the club for the game. Maybe start with an 8 or 9 iron, and over time work up to a 7 iron.
Next decide whether the second ball will finish to the right or left of the first ball. Once decided you have to stick with this for the duration of the game (check which way the wind is blowing before you start) I had a 20 mph left to right breeze so elected for right of the first ball
Hit the first ball of the first set between the fairway parameters and then attempt to hit the second ball to the right of it and still within the fairway parameters.
The first round should be fairly easy provided your first shot was in the left half of the target area. The second round with 3 balls will be harder and the third round tougher still. If you make a mistake, you have one mulligan only for the complete game. If you miss two shots the game is over. Note your score and come back the next time and try to beat it.
It’s great to compete with a friend as this raises the stakes still further.
Throughout this task, your focus should shift from swing technique to a very clear landing spot on the fairway.
Future constraints (to make the game harder)
- Don’t leave the driving range till all three levels completed
- If you stated miss on right last time, try miss on left instead next time
- Reduce width of fairway
- Discard the mulligan ball
- Pick a windy day!
- Select draw or cut spin as well as left or right of target
Seve Ballesteros practiced greenside bunker shots with a 5 iron, Donald Bradman (highest cricket score average of all time) used a cricket stump and golf ball instead of a cricket bat and ball to make batting harder. Both were world class sportsmen.
If you can make your practice even harder than playing on the golf course, your next round will seem easy by comparison.
If you’d like to try the 9 ball challenge with me – just get in touch.
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