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Driving range

From the Clubhouse: Does the driving range experience stack up?

Do you need a Trackman? Is it all about the balls? Or would just putting in a heater do? Steve Carroll and Tom Irwin recount their best and worst driving range stints

 

What does a good driving range experience look like? Do we need fancy technology and an on-demand bar, or will a quiet corner, a bucket of balls, and a nice patch of grass do the job just as well?

On this week’s From the Clubhouse, a podcast from National Club Golfer, Tom Irwin and Steve Carroll dive into everything you may have ever considered about getting in a bit of practice.

Tom is in raptures about a recent driving range session with his kids, Steve bemoans the ‘indifferent’ quality of balls you can find at some facilities and the pair recount their best and worst moments.

They look at what makes a great driving range, whether club golf is lagging behind when it comes it providing the best experience for members and visitors, and Tom remembers the weird and wonderful characters who made his own time working at a driving range so memorable.

After mustering a passing score last week, Tom also has to find another level as Steve puts him through the R&A’s intermediate Rules of Golf quiz. How will he get on this time?

What do you expect from a stint at the driving range? What have been your best and worst experiences? Let us know your thoughts with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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