Practice makes perfect

Our region is home to some fantastic practice facilities to help keep your swing in shape, improve your game and learn from some of our best coaches. Looking to sharpen your game? Try these…

Cocken Lodge
The driving range and swing studio at Cocken Lodge is at the heart of this all-round practice facility. With 14 covered, LED floodlit bays and top quality range balls, the setup at Cocken Lodge is perfect for working on your swing. Away from the range, you’ll find everything you need to practice and improve. The teaching/custom fitting suite beside the pro shop is fitted with GCQuad technology, allowing players to work with precise data or play a number of courses around the world. You’ll also find PGA professionals Phil Maitland and Doug Brolls on-hand for lessons and custom fitting to take your game to the next level. There is also a superb, testing nine-hole course measuring 1,486 yards with two par fours and seven par threes which loops around the driving range, allowing you to get out on the grass and keep every aspect of your game sharp. A complete facility, there are few better places in the region to sharpen your game.

• 14 covered, floodlit bays
• Custom fitting/teaching suite with GCQuad
• Nine-hole, 1,486-yard golf course
• Two PGA professionals
• Clubhouse/Café
• Membership available

George Washington
The Golf Academy at George Washington is a real all-rounder allowing you to work on all aspects of your game. The 16 heated bays in the floodlit driving range include six bays with power tees and a teaching suite. Inside you’ll find another teaching bay with FlightScope. There is also a practice putting green, short game area and five-hole par three course on offer to keep all aspects of your game sharp. PGA professional tuition is also available making full use of the superb facilities.

• 16 covered, floodlit bays (six with power tees)
• Teaching suite
• Indoor custom fitting/teaching suite with FlightScope
• Short game practice area
• Putting green
• Five-hole par three course
• PGA professional tuition

Wynyard Golf Club
The Golf Performance Studio at Wynyard is a place to relax with friends while playing a great golf course, working on your game or trying the latest equipment. Foresight GC2 technology allows you to play one of hundreds of courses while relaxing with access to your own bar, or fine tune your clubs with access to a wide range of club data on every shot. There is also a four-bay, covered driving range as well as excellent short game facilities and a large grassed teeing area on-site.

• One bay with Foresight GC2
• Three PGA professionals
• Custom fitting
• Four-bay driving range

Custom Fit Golf/South Moor Golf Club
The indoor studio at South Moor is available daily to members and visitors to sharpen your game with FlightScope technology. Custom fitting and tuition is also available with resident PGA professionals Shaun Cowell and Mark Ridley.

• One bay with FlightScope
• Two PGA professionals
• Custom fitting

Seaham Golf Club/The Golf Studio
As well as the superb golf course at Seaham Golf Club, members and guests can play world-renowned courses including Augusta National, Pebble Beach and the Old Course at St Andrews in The Golf Studio at the Co Durham club. The indoor Skytrak simulator is available to Seaham members, guests and the local community with more than 100,000 courses available alongside detailed analysis for lessons and custom fitting with PGA professional Andrew Blunt. To book your session for one to four people and from just half an hour, contact Ryan on 0191 513 0837.

• One bay with Skytrak
• One PGA professional
• Custom fitting

John Harrison’s range tips
Too many amateurs believe it’s enough to stand on the range and bash balls; having a plan and sticking to it can make your time on the range worthwhile and ultimately improve your scores when you get back out on the course. There are two types of practice – technical, using drills and training aids – and real practice, using targets, your pre-shot routine and analysing each shot. A combination of these in each session is key to getting the most from your time.

Proper planning
Write down your plan for the session and stick to it, working on specific areas of the game or drills

Pace yourself
Don’t just drag and hit – analyse what you’re doing. If you find this tough, place your basket of balls against the back wall and walk to get each one

Focus on the basics
Pick a target and ensure your alignment is correct – this is the biggest cause of the classic ‘I can’t take my range game to the course’

Change it up
Random or variable practice is a great way to change things up and gets you out of hitting the same shot to the same target. Try switching clubs and targets every second or third shot to better replicate the rhythm of a round of golf.