From the Range to the Course

Aloha Frank,
When I’m at the range hitting balls — especially with my driver — I notice the ball seems to have a slight fade. But when I’m on the course, my game ball (3-piece) has a draw. Can you tell me why this happens? I don’t feel like I change my swing from range to course. Because of the different flights between balls I mostly work on tempo and contact while on the range.

Any info would be great.


Ed in Hawaii

Aloha Ed,
There is no good reason for this to happen. Check your set up and/or the prevailing wind direction on the range. You might also try working on your tempo on the course and see if this does anything to solve the problem.

To make sure the ball is not the determining factor, I suggest that you play a round with a range ball (hopefully only one). First tell the pro — and anybody else who might shoot you for using range balls on the course — that you’re conducting an experiment. Warn your golfing buddies about what you’re going to do. If you’re still hitting a draw on the course, you know it’s not the ball. Personally, I think my handicap is about five strokes better on the range. It may be those racing stripes on the ball. Let me know what happens.


3 thoughts on “From the Range to the Course

  1. Both Michael and Jeff have excellent points above. I’d like to add one thing: Pressure. On the range there’s really no pressure, and you’re generally not squeezing your grip on shots. But on the course, when you’re trying hard to score and play your best, or your competing, you can often (subconsciously) squeeze the grip harder. In doing so the face will close a bit, hence the hook/draw.

  2. Regarding “From the Range to the course” The difference in ball flight may also have to do with alignment. At a driving range it is easy to use alignment aids, whether that be an actual alignment stick, the mat if you are not hitting off of real grass, the ropes laid on the grass restricting where you hit from. Alignment is a major problem with many people, and you may find that your alignment at the range is corrected, but on the course you don’t have the same outside forces helping you out.

  3. Frank mentioned tempo. Average players tend to swing faster, harder, on the course, slower late in the round when they tire. It is very difficult to pound a bucket of balls with the same tempo as you play, unless you work at it. You naturally tend to hit a bucket pretty fast and tire some. That changes your timing and release. When warming up to play, hit no more than a dozen balls, wedge through driver, and focus on swing speed. You can then take that swing to the course and expect the same ball flight. When hitting balls for practice, change clubs often, and take some light practice swings between shots. Work at tempo, swing speed, however you want to think of it. You will get a more consistent results on the range and course.

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