This might belong in the contrarian takes thread, but I am going underrated here. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing rounds of golf or even a few holes, if possible. I am not trying to make a comparative statement between playing the course and hitting balls on the range. But I noticed on the Scotland Trip podcast this week (7/24), to the person, the guys rip into hitting range balls and talk about how in Scotland no one has ranges. The implication seemed to be that Americans and our golf courses are dumb for having and maintaining driving ranges and they are unnecessary. I will make my case for driving ranges in a few points, but ultimately, I think they are great and good for the game in a lot of ways. In no particular order, here are a few reasons I like the range:
- I love just focusing in on hitting shots. Not even necessarily “practicing”, just hitting whatever shot I feel like. Different targets, different swings, just having fun trying all sorts of things. The variety in targets and options, things to aim at, trying to find different yardages with the same club, shot shape, etc. Its just fun to play the game, even if it is not on a course.
- I get “lost” on the range more easily on the course. Meaning I can zone out and just think about the shots and the swing and whatever else and it can be a great stress-reliever or just a relaxing time playing the game on the range.
- Time. As of now, I don’t belong to a club, so if I am going to play a round, generally I feel somewhat obligated to play either 9 or 18 and I have to set aside the time required. If I can fit some range time in an hour here or there, it’s a great way to find more time to play a game that is really time consuming.
- Money. Similar to the time thing, if you pay $30,$50,$100+, whatever it is to play a round, you are committed and quite obligated. Whereas you can go drop $8-20 depending on how much time you have and hit balls for a little bit or a long time, totally up to you.
- This is somewhat point number 1 and somewhat not, but I will certainly go out there sometimes to try and get better. I don’t have to the guy just grinding on the range for hours, but I certainly like to go out and try some new things and get more comfortable with my swing, etc. So practice is enjoyable as well.
Ultimately, while I understand that many courses obsess over finding a range on the property and fitting one in and that they are very expensive to maintain and upkeep, etc. I think a good range is really enjoyable and a big part of my enjoyment of golf. Even if they are not found at old historic courses in Scotland and if they were not an original part of the game, they are great and don’t deserve to be bashed like they were on the pod. Underrated.