Practice makes perfect

Darker evenings offer lots of time to perfect your golf swing at the driving range and 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. Try these…

Blackwell Grange
Blackwell Grange’s driving range is the ideal place to hone your swing over the winter months. The 13-bay covered, floodlit driving range – recently upgraded with new LED lighting and open til 7pm – is part of the club’s extensive practice facilities, which also include a short game practice area. You’ll also find a six-hole academy course and well-stocked pro shop with custom fitting equipment from the game’s top brands along with a state-of-the-art swing studio with TrackMan technology. Expert tuition is available with PGA professionals Peter Raine and Aaron Cox, and gift vouchers are available for the shop, driving range and lessons.
Blackwell Grange Golf Club, Snipe Lane, Darlington, DL2 2SA, tel 01325 464458,

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 and short game area on offer to keep all aspects of your game sharp. PGA professional tuition is also available making full use of the superb facilities.
George Washington Golf Club, Stone Cellar Road, Washington NE37 1PH, tel 0191 402 9988,

Work smarter
With PGA professional Doug Brolls

To really make the most of your time at the driving range, you need to focus on the quality of the shots you’re hitting rather than the quantity. Having a plan which combines technical practice using drills and real practice using targets and analysis of your shots, and sticking to it, makes your time much more worthwhile. Here’s my advice for getting the most out of your range time…

Proper planning – Plan your session before you get to the driving range and stick to it. Work on specific areas of the game you’ve identified as weaknesses or focus on drills to maximise your time practising
Pace yourself – Don’t just bash balls – take the time to analyse what you’re doing. If you find this difficult, try placing your basket of balls out of reach and consciously move out of your stance to collect each one
Do the basics – Ensure your alignment is correct on each shot – either using a club on the ground or an alignment stick – this is the biggest cause of ‘I can’t take my range game to the course’ syndrome
Change it up – Take a break from practising a specific shot or movement (block practice) and try some variable practice – switching clubs and targets every second or third shot to better replicate the rhythm of a round of golf