Understanding Practice Range Balls

Driving Range Balls vs Real Golf Balls

Here are some quick tidbits about range golf balls that you might not know.

Because many practice ranges have a limited amount of space, they’ll use a particular type of golf ball that doesn’t fly as far. You’ll notice this most with your driver and you might incorrectly think it’s down to your swing or your club.

Watch the video below or read the summary beneath to see why you should take distances with a pinch of salt at most driving ranges:

Practice Range Tips Video Summary

  • Range balls can be quite different to the type of ball you might use on the golf course. Many driving ranges will choose lower compression balls, which don’t fly as far when they have limited space.
  • Range balls also have a lot of marks, scratches, and loss of lacquer which can affect their flight. A new range ball might travel 10% less than a ball you’d use on the course. An older range ball could fly as much as 20-30% less! You’ll notice a greater difference in distances for longer irons and woods compared to short irons and wedges.
  • Some ranges will adjust the yardages of any target markers to accommodate for lower compression balls that don’t fly as far. But many don’t. You can ask the range manager what type of golf balls they use and if they adjust the yardage markers or you can measure the yardage posts yourself if you have a set of Range Finders.
  • Rather than getting hung up about precise distances at the range, focus instead on how far one club hits the ball relative to another. For example, do you hit your 6 iron 10 yards or so further than your 7 iron? If you tend to hit shorter irons almost as far as longer irons, it’s more likely a result of poor ball striking than the state of the golf balls you’re hitting.
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