Should You Get A Driving Range Membership?

Posted on: 3 February 2016

There's not much you enjoy more than spending time at your local golf course. But your game could use some work to make your time even more enjoyable -- and increase your chances of winning that $2 Nassau against your best buddy. Is a driving range membership worth the cost, and can it improve your game?

What is a driving range membership?

Both public and private golf courses may offer a special deal for those who want to get in more practice time. For an annual fee (some courses offer a monthly deal), you get unlimited buckets of range balls, which are normally $2 to $15 a pop. Some facilities charge by the hour for time spent on the short game practice areas for chipping, pitching and sand play, and that cost is covered by the membership as well.

Is a membership worth the cost?

This requires some simple math and the ability to be honest with yourself. If a membership costs $350/year, and a large bucket of balls costs $10, you'll need to hit a bucket of balls each week in the spring, summer and fall (that's 35 weeks) to break even. 

You may start with good intentions, but will you follow through? Look at a similar concept: gym memberships. About 67 percent of the people who buy gym memberships never work out. But if you're one of the one-third who can make a commitment to get better, a membership for the driving range can be motivating and worthwhile.

Can hitting more range balls improve your game?

You'll want to make an effort to practice with focus and not just mindlessly bang balls down the range. According to, deliberate practice can help you improve your game. That's where you:

  1. Personalize your practice sessions to work on what you need, possibly with the help of a professional instructor.
  2. Work on challenging shots, not just routine ones.
  3. Repeat extensively to re-wire your brain. Repetition helps build muscle memory.
  4. Get regular feedback from a skilled friend or, even better, a teaching pro.

Another technique that can help you on the range is "interleaving," the practice of changing up your drills, targets and clubs used. Plus, researchers say, practicing in sessions that span several days is much more effective than doing a lot of work sporadically.

So if you're considering a driving range membership at your local golf course, and you're willing to put in the time, chances are that the annual cost will be a good deal for you. If you're not sure, experiment with buying single buckets of range balls for a few weeks until you know how many you're likely to use. Talk to your golf professional or golf course manager if you have questions.