Road Test: Golf driving range

Thanks to high profile younger golfing athletes like Tiger Woods and the awareness they’ve brought about, golf is no longer seen as a sport for just retirees and the rich. Our editor, Ange, didn’t feel her golf skills were up to a proper game, but road tested a driving range at JK’s World of Golf in Auckland to see if you can still get a good workout from staying in one spot.

The good thing about going to a driving range, is that you can work on your golf technique without having to pay a small fortune for club membership fees or one-off games. They’re made to test out how you would do on the fairway (the bit between where you tee off and the putting green where you try to sink it into the hole) and give you a chance to try out your golfing gear.

You can bring your own clubs or you can also often hire/borrow them from the driving range. We paid $13 for 100 balls (that’s a whole lot of hitting!).

Our top tips to improve your golf swing

Definitely get a coach and pay for some beginner lessons or at the very least take along someone who knows what they’re doing to teach you how to swing a golf club correctly. There are a lot of ways to get this wrong, and you don’t want to have to pay a small fortune later for someone to undo your bad habits!

Here are a few tips to get you started that I found helped me, but there’s a lot of technique involved just to get your standing position sorted, let alone your swing! These instructions are for right-handed golfers, if you feel more comfortable with a left swing, just reverse the instructions:

  • Lock your little finger on the right hand between your index and middle fingers on your left hand, grip the golf club and bring your thumbs together.
  • Address the ball side/square on with your feet hip width apart, hold your club straight out in front of your body and let your arms hang down loosely/comfortably – just make sure you’re holding that club tightly because you don’t want to send it soaring through the air when you swing back! The ball should be positioned on the ground in the centre of the club head.
  • Keeping your knees a little bent, rotate your body drawing the club around over your shoulder (your right back foot stays grounded; as you twist, your left knee should naturally bend towards your right – forming a K shape with your legs, and your left heel should naturally lift to allow your position). When you swing through, your body should ‘unravel’ drawing the club around over your opposite shoulder and causing your right knee to naturally bend and your right heel to lift off the ground.
  • Keep your head down and eyes on the golf ball the whole time as you swing your club.
  • Do some practice swings without the golf ball first to get the feel of it. The club should just ‘graze’ the grass.
  • Don’t try to whack the hell out of that poor little ball as it’s difficult to keep your swing controlled. Instead, focus on technique and hitting it correctly – the speed and distance will come.

What you’ll be working out

I was certainly feeling the effects of the driving range 24 hours later! The key areas that felt like they’d been given a workout were my back, obliques (sides of the abs, from the twisting/body rotation movement) and my forearms.  Great for working on developing your core strength and killer arms.

Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – pat138241

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