Anyone who has ever gone to the driving range has likely asked themself this question. You and your friends are hitting balls and over the hill you see a cart appear. As the cart gets closer and closer, you get the urge to fire a couple balls its way. It sounds like a fun idea and your friends are egging you on, but you hesitate.
You ask yourself, is it wrong to hit the ball collector at the driving range? You may be surprised but no, in most cases, it’s not inappropriate to hit the ball collector while they are gathering balls.
Now that doesn’t mean that you should put the pitching wedge away and pull out the driver when you see them coming. Purposefully hitting the cart, especially with the intent of harm, is always inappropriate. However, hitting a stray ball at the cart is perfectly understandable if done by mistake.
What Happens if I Hit the Ball Collector at the Driver Range?
You accidentally hit the ball collector at the driving range, now what? Don’t freak out, most golf facilities have carts with metal cages that provide enhanced protection from flying balls. These carts are made to withstand direct hits while keeping the driver safe. If you see the employee secured in the cart with the door closed, you should be safe to hit. However, to be sure beyond a doubt, your safest bet is always to wait until the collector is done gathering the balls.
When is it Not OK to Hit the Ball Collector?
Judgment is key when hitting balls near the ball collector cart. Smaller facilities may rely on workers to hand pick the range or use older equipment to gather range balls. Having worked at a golf course for 10+ years, I have some experience in this area. Early in my tenure at the course, I was relegated to picking the range during slow hours. The ball collector cart I used had nothing more than thick plastic to cover its sides. If that is the case, it is never safe to hit balls towards the collector.
It goes without saying that if someone is picking the range with a hand picker that it is also not safe to hit balls. In these cases, the range will usually be closed while it is being picked. If you find yourself in a situation and you’re not sure if it is safe to hit, be sure to use the upmost discretion.
Fun Alternative Games at the Driving Range
If hitting the golf ball collector is your attempt at keeping the driving range interesting, it’s time to upgrade your driving range games. There are multiple fun games for the range that can fight off the repetitive boredom and can make practice fun again. See below for our favorite driving range games.
It’s time to grip it and rip it. This game is self-explanatory but is also a classic. A long drive contest is a fun game where you challenge your friends to see how far you can hit a golf ball. Using a driver is typically the club of choice but you can also switch it up and see who can hit the ball the furthest with other clubs in the bag. While a long-drive contest may not always be good for your golf game, it’s always a fun time.
Closest to the Flag
Closest to the flag is a great game to improve your game while having fun. Pick a flag to target then fire away. See how close you can get as well as how consistent you can be in your shot. Try to use different clubs to hit at the same flag. Developing these skills can be fun while adding skill to your golf game.
Feeling confident in your game? Try shot master where you call you shot prior to hitting. Master your power fade or the subtle draw. Practice punch shots, open the club face for high flying flop shots, or do your best Tiger Woods imitation by hitting a low trajectory stinger to practice for windy days. Mastering your shot through this game can be a fun challenge and a great addition to your swing ability when on the course.
Next time you are at the driving range, and you see the cart coming, I personally always recommend you wait for the cart to pass before you resume hitting balls. It’s not technically wrong to hit the ball collector at the driving range but use your judgment. Always remember that safety should be your priority. Plus, with so many other great games to play, there are other ways to have more fun at the range.
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