Unwritten Rules: How to Act at the Range

By Ryan Watson

The driving range is a quintessential part of the golf experience. Whether you’re warming up before the round or working on a specific aspect of your game, the driving range allows you to get in numerous shots without worrying about shagging balls or the neighbors’ windows. But despite the ubiquity of the driving range, there are still folks who simply don’t know how to act, whether or not they are new to the sport or a seasoned range rat. Don’t be one of these annoyances by practicing proper range manners by following these [formerly] unwritten rules.


Don’t Monopolize the Range

This should go without saying, yet it’s something that you’ve undoubtedly seen or perhaps shamefully done. You are entitled to your one bucket of balls and after that, give up your spot to someone waiting. It’s completely fine to keep hacking away if no one is waiting, but always be courteous to your fellow golfers. 


Don’t Play Music

No. One. Wants. To. Hear. It. Remember this, and it will help you maintain good range etiquette. A good set of bluetooth headphones will let you hear your music while bombing your drives and keep yourself on good terms with everyone else on the range. 


Keep it to Yourself

This is an extension of previous rule, but just like no one wants the distraction of music, no one needs to hear your play-by-play on your shots. If you shank it, keep your expletives to yourself. Likewise, if you strike the ball sweetly, a silent fist pump is all the celebration you should do. Remember, everyone is trying to enjoy the range and nothing you do should negatively impact the other players. This also goes with chit chat, pleasantries are fine but loud conversations aren’t for the range at your local course. If you want a more animated range experience, many cities have driving ranges attached to entertainment venues and that’s where you can go for a laid back time. 


Only Use What You Need

Many driving ranges have buckets of balls lying around that are ready for anyone. Don’t grab more than 1 bucket at a time, and don’t dump any balls that you don’t intend to hit. Leaving your stall littered in range balls shows contempt for any other golfer who might be using the stall after you. 


Don’t Take Angled Shots

This is just a general safety rule, but don’t hit your balls at targets that are sharply angled away from you, and never hit a ball with your address not perpendicular to the rest of the range. No one will forgive you for a wild shot that hits someone, so just don’t risk it. 


Keep Your Divots Lined Up

This rule may not be apparent, but is something that will endear you to staff and your fellow golfers alike. When taking your shots, be sure and only hit off a straight line. When a divot makes the previous spot unplayable, play your next ball directly in front of or behind that divot and repeat the process. The result will be a continual straight divot, rather than leaving the turf pockmarked with divots that ultimately take up more space and are more difficult to repair. 


Don’t Hit the Range Picker (Seriously)

Another one that shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but we all know it happens a lot. I promise you that no one on staff is impressed at you pinging balls at the poor person driving the cart. It may get a chuckle or two, but as anyone who has ever driven a range picker knows, getting whacked suddenly by a high velocity object that you can’t see is not a fun experience, even with the protection of an iron cage. 



About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.


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