My weekly golf routine generally involves the following:
- A round or two at the local par 3 course – free for me
- 9 holes during the week, and perhaps 18 on the weekend at a ‘real course’
- Possibly a trip or two to a fake grass/mat driving range, if playing isn’t an option
Of course, this is all weather permitting, which, lately has been a problem. This past weekend it rained…a lot. So the tee-time at Warrenbrook was cancelled, and a trip to the driving range ensued.
Generally, I warm myself up with a few shots with the PW, or 8 iron. Trying to take dead aim at a flag in the 125-165 range depending on the club. Usually, I try to find myself some of those ‘fake grass’ mats. They have ‘synthetic’ grass, which gives a little when you hit the ball. However, sometimes the stalls with those types of mats are not available, and I resort to hitting off the hard astro-turf like mats…like I did this past weekend.
I should know by now, that hitting off those matts does absolutely no good for my golf game. Really trying to pick the ball clean, as I don’t want to injure my wrists by repeatedly slamming the club into the ground at/after impact. Anyway, back to what happened. I was hitting some lovely shots. So I continued to work on the irons, spending a fair amount of time trying to work on the 4-6 accuracy…as that has been a problem lately. Sure enough, I think that improved some….but….at what expense?
Ok, so on Tuesday night, I played at Shadow Lake Village, the par 3 course. Great little course, very small (extremely slow) greens, which rewards accurate iron shots. Most of the holes are in the 150-180 range, with only a couple in the 120-150 range. Unfortunately, the grounds crew there insists that everyone ‘tee-up’ in the tee box. Ok, fair enough, I can tee the ball down pretty far, but I would still prefer to try and simulate approach shots from the fairway as much as possible. But, I conform, and tee up my shots. The first few, I hit a little thin…and am able to adjust rather quickly. Though, I do notice, my practice swings are barely touching the ground..no worries I think.
Fast forward to this afternoon. I took off to play 9 holes at Bamm Hollow. The first hole, I placed my tee shot in the fairway, wasn’t a very long shot, and was way too right, but I’ll take it. Hit a beautiful 3 wood, to about 175 (long dogleg par 5). Ok, I’m still in the fairway, take out this 6 iron I had been working with at the range…practice swing…swing..swing..hmm…why can’t I hit the ground? It was so strange, it was like something inside me was not letting my club brush the ground. Not thinking much, I went up, hit, and nearly topped the ball…hit it very thin, scooted along the ground…looking at 125 yard shot now. Take out the PW, and same thing…swing swing…hmm…not hitting the ground…ok, whatever, swing, and topped again.
Eventually I sorted this out, and started taking some divots on the shorter irons after about 5 holes. I finished off the 9 with 3 GIRs, with 8-10 foot birdie putts (which, unfortunately, I missed).
So this makes me wonder, does the Driving Range do me more harm than good? Should I just avoid it? Or just work on the Driver/Fairway Woods there? Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find myself a real grass driving range near-by.
I did some searching, to see if there were any driving range mat ‘alternatives’ out there, and low and behold:
Though, unless someone builds a new range near me, I doubt I’ll see those anytime soon…and even if I did, they’d probably be charging more for a bucket of balls than the twilight rate at any of the local municipal courses.