GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

Range Plans

1  of  5

Plan No. 1: Driver Focus

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Golf is a lot easier when you’re driving the ball down the middle. But most golfers don’t know what to work on when the driver is failing them—and just pounding tee shots on the range is rarely the answer. In this video, teacher Jason Guss discusses the do’s and don’ts.

SWING THOUGHTS

With the driver, play the ball off your front instep and flare out both feet
To create an upward strike with the driver, tilt your upper body behind the ball
On the driver backswing, let your weight shift to your back heel as you turn
Turn through aggressively on driver swings, with your weight getting to your front heel

DRILLS

Contact Check

  • Spray the face of your driver with a can of foot spray, then draw a vertical line with your finger down the middle of the face.
  • Hit some tee shots, and see if you tend to make contact toward the heel or the toe.
  • If you’re a heel hitter, you’re probably swinging out to in through impact.
  • If you’re a toe hitter, you’re probably swinging too much from the inside.
  • To fix heel contact, try standing a little farther from the ball.
  • To fix toe contact, take the club back straighter and swing toward the target.

The 20-Shot Drill

  • At the range, grab 20 balls to hit with your driver.
  • For the first five balls, focus on hitting the ball in the center of the clubface.
  • On the next five balls, freewheel it to see if you can increase distance.
  • On the next five, swing with the intent of finishing in perfect balance.
  • For the last five, pick a specific target and focus on hitting straight.
Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus
2 Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus
  • How to beat fat and thin iron shots
  • Simple routines for consistent strikes
  • Taking your new skills to the course

Range Plans

2  of  5

Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

One of the most challenging things to do consistently is to make solid contact on iron shots. If you’re struggling to produce good strikes, it’s likely because the low point of your swing is coming behind the ball. Here, Jason Guss explains what causes this and how to address it.

SWING THOUGHTS

To hit your irons solid, play the ball in the center of your stance
In the setup for an iron shot, tilt slightly behind the ball
On the backswing with an iron, keep your chest over the ball; don’t shift to your front foot
To avoid swaying off the ball, rotate your hips in place, with no lateral movement

DRILLS

Bank the Back Foot

  • To avoid swaying and bottoming out the club behind the ball, flare out your back foot and angle it inward.
  • Hit some balls from this modified stance, and see how your contact improves.
  • Make practice swings on the course using this stance to pre-set pure strikes.

Front Foot Back

  • To avoid leaning toward the target and backing up on the downswing, bottoming out behind the ball, pull your front foot back and up on its toes at address.
  • Hit some balls with the front foot back, and see how your ball-striking improves.
  • When you play, make practice swings from this modified stance to encourage better contact.
Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults
3 Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults
  • Building the ultimate practice station
  • Why the ball goes where it goes
  • Easy fixes for the most common problems

Range Plans

3  of  5

Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

There’s nothing worse than hitting it bad on the course, then heading to the range to try to fix it and hitting it even worse. In this video, Jason Guss shows you how to figure out your problems at the range and address them with a few simple drills.

SWING THOUGHTS

To fix a pull, check that the toe of the club is pointing up halfway back and halfway through
To fix a push, keep the clubface pointing slightly down halfway back and halfway through
To fix a slice, swing into impact more from the inside
To fix a hook, swing to the left after impact (for right-handers)

DRILLS

The Diagnostic Drill

  • Stick two tees on either side of your clubhead at address, one outside the toe and the other inside the heel, creating a gate for the clubhead to swing through.
  • Place two alignment rods on the ground a couple feet apart, one across your toe line and the other just outside the ball, parallel to the target line.
  • Stick another rod in the ground about 10 yards down the target line.
  • Use the rod outside the ball to check that your clubface is square at address.
  • Hit some balls, trying to swing through the tees and start the ball over the rod down the target line.
  • If you hit either tee, make adjustments until you can swing through the gate.
  • If you start the ball left, the clubface is closed at impact; if you start it right, the face is open.
  • If the ball curves right, your swing path is out to in through impact.
  • If the ball curves left, your swing path is too in to out through impact.
Plan No. 4: Short Game Only
4 Plan No. 4: Short Game Only
  • The fundamentals of chipping and pitching
  • What all great bunker players do
  • How to monitor short-game progress

Range Plans

4  of  5

Plan No. 4: Short Game Only

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Poor short-game shots add up quickly on your scorecard. If you don’t practice your short game, you’re leaving these shots up to chance. Here, Jason Guss shares his best tips and drills for you to take to your short-game practice area and hone your skills around the greens.

SWING THOUGHTS

For chip shots, narrow your stance and pull your front foot back slightly and flare it open
In chipping, play the ball just forward of center and move your weight to your front foot
In the chipping setup, position your sternum an inch or two in front of the ball
The chipping motion should be slightly longer on the backswing than the through-swing
For pitches, play the ball just forward of center, your weight 70 percent on your front foot
In pitching, make a full wrist hinge on the backswing
For bunker shots, play the ball toward your front foot and open the clubface
On a bunker swing, keep the face open through impact and swing with plenty of speed

DRILLS

The 20-Chip Drill

  • Find an area five to 10 yards off the green, and pick a landing spot a few steps on.
  • Chip 20 balls onto the green, holding your finish position each time.
  • At the finish, check that your weight is on your front foot and your hands and arms are soft.
  • Try to hit at least 10 out of the 20 where you achieve these proper finish positions.

Pitching Targets

  • At your short-game area, set up three targets on the green—20, 30 and 40 yards from an area you can pitch from.
  • Practice pitching balls to the three targets in alternating fashion.
  • Make a couple practice swings before each shot to help gauge distance.
  • You’ll get a feel for how to adjust your swing length to reach different targets.

Splash the Line

  • Set three balls in a line in the sand with a one-foot gap between them.
  • Draw a line in between each ball and a line extending outside the first one.
  • Take your setup at the extended line, as if it were the ball, and make your swing to see where your club enters the sand.
  • If it’s too far back, more than four inches, try to hit closer to the line. Make a couple more practice swings, then step up and hit the first ball.
  • Follow this routine, taking a couple practice swings between the balls as you work down the line and eventually hit the remaining balls.
  • You’ll develop a feel for where the clubhead should enter the sand to hit a successful shot.

Short-Game Test

  • Place two balls just off the practice green; place two farther back, at pitching distance; place two more in a greenside bunker.
  • Start with chipping, then move to pitching, then to the bunker.
  • Your goal is to get up and down with one of the two balls at each station.
Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep
5 Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep

Range Plans

5  of  5

Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

There’s another reason you go to the range, but it has nothing to do with working on your game; it’s the pre-round warm-up. The best players in the world have a routine they stick to that gets them ready to play. In this video, Jason Guss shows you how you can do the same.

SWING THOUGHTS

Start your warm-up with a few putts and chips to get your mind and body primed
When you get to the range, hit a handful of balls with a wedge, focusing on rhythm
After warming up with a wedge, move to a short iron, then a middle iron, hitting only a handful with each club
As you get loose on the range, start to pick specific targets and make fuller swings
When your warm-up moves to longer irons and woods, tee the ball up to build confidence
When you get to the driver in your warm-up, stay smooth and avoid hitting too many balls

DRILLS

The 10-Minute Warm-up

  • Take only a wedge, a middle iron and your driver to the range.
  • Hit a few wedge shots to get a rhythm and feel. Go slow—chances are you’re feeling rushed.
  • Same thing with the middle iron and driver: Slow everything down, and focus on rhythm.
  • Just before you leave the range, hit a few shots you know you’ll need on the first few holes. Imagine the opening drive, the approach on the first hole, then the drive on No. 2, etc.
  • You’ll feel more comfortable when you have to hit those shots on the course.
  • As you head to the first tee, make a quick stop at the putting green and hit two or three putts.

Range Plans

Lesson
1 / 5
Plan No. 1: Driver Focus
2 / 5
Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus
3 / 5
Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults
4 / 5
Plan No. 4: Short Game Only
5 / 5
Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep
Range Plans INDEX
Plan No. 1: Driver Focus
1/5
Plan No. 1: Driver Focus
  • Checking your setup and swing basics
  • How to eliminate off-center strikes
  • A 20-shot practice drill for driving excellence
  • Checking your setup and swing basics
  • How to eliminate off-center strikes
  • A 20-shot practice drill for driving excellence
Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus
2/5
Plan No. 2: Ball-Striking Focus
  • How to beat fat and thin iron shots
  • Simple routines for consistent strikes
  • Taking your new skills to the course
  • How to beat fat and thin iron shots
  • Simple routines for consistent strikes
  • Taking your new skills to the course
Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults
3/5
Plan No. 3: Diagnosing Faults
  • Building the ultimate practice station
  • Why the ball goes where it goes
  • Easy fixes for the most common problems
  • Building the ultimate practice station
  • Why the ball goes where it goes
  • Easy fixes for the most common problems
Plan No. 4: Short Game Only
4/5
Plan No. 4: Short Game Only
  • The fundamentals of chipping and pitching
  • What all great bunker players do
  • How to monitor short-game progress
  • The fundamentals of chipping and pitching
  • What all great bunker players do
  • How to monitor short-game progress
Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep
5/5
Plan No. 5: The Pre-Round Prep