The Driving Range is something that we are all familiar with. It can be a love hate relationship but one thing is for sure, if you’re going to be any good in golf, there’s no shortcut around the practice area. The term “Ranger Rick” was once mentioned by Tiger to explain the phenomena of hitting the ball well on the range and being unable to take it to the tee box. Even though we can all relate to the struggles of golf under pressure, I’d like to offer a different view of who Ranger Rick might actually be.
Long Drive is different from tournament or traditional golf in that the players are very willing to assist each other, especially on the range. When you’re new to Long Drive, the help can be a valuable resource. This is often how players learn what shafts, driver heads and setups work or to at least consider. As progression is made, the very things that once helped can often be the source of problems. Advice and instruction are awesome…when they are requested but unsolicited advice and training can actually harm players. Back when I played basketball, the warm up process before a game was simply a formality and was hardly ever an indication of how I would perform after the ball was tipped. I’ve missed almost every shot during warm ups and then shot lights out during the game. In the same way, many Long Drivers warm up all over the place and yet are able to put it together between the markers. The best way to use range time at an event is to work on your own swing as well as getting your muscles loose for competition. The very worst way to spend range time is trying to help others who you think might be struggling with their game or swing. If you’re a veteran or a coach and someone asks for your input, by all means, do everything that you can to help but being a range hawk and passing out advice against the will of others might make you a true Ranger Rick. I always carry a video camera while at competitions and there are times when players have approached me to film a few swings and I never mind doing so but there’s no way on earth that I’m going to film a highly ranked player and then demand to show him what he’s doing wrong.
Ranger Rick has several faces. It’s hard to find a range as a Long Driver because very few can understand what we do and even fewer are willing to let us lose golf balls as a result of big booming tee shots. As a rookie, it’s flattering when the general public gathers to watch you hit or when they insist on asking a thousand questions about your equipment or experiences but as you become a more seasoned Hitter, these things can be more of a distraction or momentum killer. How many times have you gotten into a small groove hitting the ball only to have someone approach and ask if you’re “one of those long drive guys?” I realize they mean no harm and it comes with the territory but Ranger Rick is no less trying even though his heart is in the right place. As a musician, I could always tell when someone could play because rarely will a truly great musician brag on themselves. It’s the bragging musician who usually sucks. In golf, it’s the same way. When you meet someone who says they play a little or try to play, that’s the person who is often the deadliest or most powerful. I often kid my Long Drive buddies when I walk up to them on the range by saying hi, I’m (insert long drivers name here), perhaps you’ve heard of me. I intend the utmost respect by this comment because they are great players but there are others who will pay any amount or travel the world over just to be able to call themselves a “Long Driver“. I guess the bottom line would be that Ranger Rick, by any description, is never a positive tag to have.
Ranger Rick type A- The Golfer who can light it up on the range but folds under the heat of competition.
Ranger Rick type B- The person who gives unsolicited advice to others on the range.
Ranger Rick type C- The range observer who insist on stopping your flow while on the range.
Ranger Rick type D- The golfer who wants others to know that they are a Long Driver strictly for ego reasons even if they have zero chance of ever truly competing with the others in the sport.
Just something to consider as you spend your range time.
Shark Attack Golf