Bandwagoning The Bay: The Driving Range

In my infinite wisdom, I went to the driving range for the first time with grandiose visions — I’d watched HOURS of golf. Drives, iron shots, chips. I’d seen it all. I was going to be the Paula Creamer of Green Valley Range, all hip action and no slices. Perfect shots would rain down upon that obnoxious target that blares a horn and flashes lights when you hit it. I was going to be the envy of everyone on those mats, and not just because I was rocking my new Puma golf skirt.

All I hit that day was bay divider with an astonishing number of shank shots that bounced back into my shin.

I’ve since been back to the range four times and I’ve hit roughly four impressive shots total.

This shit is hard.

Learn from my mistakes. Seriously. Someone might as well.

1.) Start on a mat, not the grass.

Ideally, yes, you want to practice on the surface you’ll ultimately be playing on, but right now, those clubs are shiny and there’s no need to break $15 worth of tees trying to figure out what part of the clubface NOT to hit.

2.) You’re going to whiff it. A lot. In an epic fashion. And you don’t get style points for spinning in a complete 360 degree rotation. Save that for softball like I do.

It’s embarrassing when it happens, but don’t sweat it. Pros may not miss the ball anymore, but they definitely miss their target. All the time. So really, you’re just like them.

3.) Pick 2–3 clubs to practice with per visit.

As fun as it is to have a buffet of potential disappointment at your disposal, switching clubs a dozen times gets nothing done for a beginner. Picking a few and leaving the rest lessens the likelihood of chucking a club in a fit of rage. Both because you allow yourself time to focus on that club and also because you limit the options you have left after the toss.

4.) Lastly, language.

I’ve only been practicing for a matter of months and I’ve acquired a vocabulary straight out of a George Carlin bit. Don’t be like me. This game is going to frustrate you for the rest of your life, so don’t use up all your swear words on the range. Partly because you’ll need them later, but also because the people (children included) around you don’t need to know how poorly you’re playing. As far as they should know, you were totally AIMING 150 yards to the right.

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