The good, the bad and the ugly sides of the driving range

Driving Range 1

One of the (many) reasons I was destined to write about golf for a living rather than play it is that I can’t stand practising.

I don’t have it in me to spend hour after hour, day after day, week after week, launching balls into a barren field. I can’t do it. It bores me rigid.

The problem is simple. They say practise makes perfect. But nobody’s perfect. So why practise? The futile full-time pursuit of perfection is not my idea of a good time. Part-time mediocrity? Sign me up.

• BLOG - "How I've learned to be okay with being 'just another rubbish golfer'"

All that said, I found myself with a couple of hours to kill one recent Saturday morning. Next thing I know, I’m standing in a bay at my local range with 100 balls at my feet. I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe I quantum leaped. Anyway, there I was. A driver, a 4-iron, a 7-iron, a wedge and, I repeat, ONE-HUNDRED BALLS. Fifty would have been fine. None, even better.

Figuring I was going to be there for a while, I warmed up. A limber here, a loosen there. As I did, I took a look around.

You see some sights at the range, don’t you?

Driving Range 2

In the next bay was a young lad in his late teens. Metronomic swing. Athletic build. A thick mop of perfectly-coiffed hair. It was just like looking in a mirror if, instead, of reflective film, the glass was covered by a big sheet of paper that had “MATE, YOUR MIRROR’S KNACKERED” scrawled on it.

The two bays at the far end of the range were occupied by another pair of young guys. They weren’t quite so gifted as Tiger McWoods to my right. Instead, they seemed to be engaged in a game of “Who Can Hit The Frame Of The Building Most Often”. Every 20 seconds or so, an almighty metallic clatter would ring around the range, followed by high pitched howls.

• BLOG - "The day I realised the brutal truth about the state of my game"

Still, at least they were having fun, which is more than could be said for the father and son in between them, me and the future ‘Greatest Golfer of All Time’.

The dad had turned up in his full kit. Waterproof top (it was a covered range), chinos (of course), golf shoes (so white he must polish them with Colgate), and a white belt. He looked like he’d walked straight off the set of Bawbag: The Movie.

His son? No more than five-years-old. A timid looking wee fella. And, as it turned out, with good reason.

Driving Range 3

I tuned in to this special, father-son bonding experience just in time to hear the dad lose his rag after his boy failed to stripe the ball at 6,000 rpm. “That’s no’ it,” he hissed with all the paternal affection of a hypodermic needle. “You’re no’ square to the target.”

Square to the target?! The poor wee lad probably still doesn’t know his squares from his triangles by this point. As a new father, I can honestly say watching Drill Sergeant Dad demonstrate how not to parent is the best lesson I’ve ever had at any range.

• BLOG - "I owe Tiger Woods an apology"

And then, of course, there was me: the eavesdropping, judgemental journo. After a half-hearted warm-up, I picked up my wedge, addressed the ball, and promptly shanked my first ball into the perimeter fence. Looking down and seeing I had 99 left immediately reminded me of two things: why I don’t practise more often, and why I probably should.

Get more stuff like this!

This article first appeared in issue 167 of bunkered (October 2018). To find out more, or for details on how you can get THREE free rounds of golf by subscribing today, click here.


Share this Article

twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
Ewen Ferguson
play button
play button
angus carrick
play button
WHO WOULD USE THIS GOLF CLUB? | TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver review
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Former PGA Tour pro has leg amputated
PXG boss offers staff cash bonus to get COVID vaccine
Women's golf is "neglected" says Gary Player
Dustin Johnson: I want to be US Ryder Cup captain
“I can’t keep playing the way I am” - Jason Day opens up on struggles

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Maintain your balance throughout golf swing
play button
Set the wrists later in the golf swing
play button
Denis Pugh gives a lesson for beginners
play button
Swing through the ball to hit a fade
See all videos right arrow