After purchasing the neighbouring farm in October 2005, which is situated just to the west of our current Whispering Hills Golf Club, 18 hole golf course property, I immediately went to the drawing board with a vision of what type of a practice facility I wanted to build for my potential golf customers in the Grey-Bruce and surrounding area.

The property, which was a corn and hay field since the 1960s, was the prime and extremely convenient location to add a golf practice facility for Whispering Hills customers and for golfers in the Walkerton, Hanover, and surrounding area. The entire farm property is a little over 10 acres of land, but the actual area where the practice facility is located is exactly 198,000 square feet, or 4.5 acres in size.

Because the property is not at least 300 yards deep, I decided to take a totally different approach to what type of golf practice facility I was going to build for my customers.

To be quite frank, “driving” ranges do not always help people play better out on the golf course.

There were already numerous “driving” style ranges around. And to be quite frank, “driving” ranges do not always help people play better out on the golf course. I know, that’s a bold statement, but, I think it is very true from what I’ve seen in all my 40+ years being around this sport called golf.

Here’s what I mean, really. You see, when you label yourself as a “driving” range, people immediately think of the club called “driver.” Hitting drivers and nothing but. Just think about that for a minute. Go to a range, buy a large bucket of balls, head to the tee, take your driver out and just bang out a whole bucket of nothing but driver and sweat your butt off. How is that smart? It’s not! So many people do it though, because they figure if you get awesome with your driver, you’ll go out the next time on the golf course and shoot amazing scores. Reality is, you won’t!

My whole life, I’ve hit the ball long. I’ve been kicked out of ranges for banging all their balls “out of the park” past the 300 yard fence. At a high-end course in Florida, I even had the Head Pro come out and ask me to hit my 3 wood only, as my balls were going past the 320 yard boundary out onto a hole of the golf course behind the range. I looked around and everyone else was just hitting driver. Point is, I hit the ball stupid-LONG, but yet I have scored some stupid high scores because I hit it great off the tee, but that was it. I didn’t hit the second shots tight to the pin as often because I didn’t practice with my irons as much!

The second shot on a hole of the course is more important than the first. You’ve gotta knock it tight if you want to see your scores drop!

When I bought the farm with the vision of building a practice facility, I was glad that the property wasn’t terribly long. Actually the length and width of the range is pretty well dead-on perfect to practice irons and wedges. Otherwise known by the tour pros as the “money clubs.”

Ever wonder why pros hit irons off the tee on long and tight par fours and fives? Because it’s more accurate than a driver – even for them! That sure tells the average Joe golfer something. Even a pro hits terrible drives and gets into HUGE trouble on the course because of it. Driver is very hard to hit well all of the time.

People need to work on their irons the most. Simple as that. You can hit 300 yard drives all you want, but if you can’t hit the green on your next shot, to give you a chance to make a birdie or par putt, then what’s the point? I personally have shot lower, more consistent scores on the course, the less I use a driver and use irons more off the tee. Try it, you will notice what I have.

Work on the shots that matter the most – the ones at the flag.

That is why my slogan is: Work on the shots that matter the most – the ones at the flag.

I built a target greens range. A range with the sole purpose of getting the customer better and prepared for “out on the course!”

I built a massive 11,000 square foot tee deck hitting area, using nothing but the best golf-specific grass seed available. The tee is perfectly level and well manicured, cut short just like a professional fairway. It is an all-grass tee deck, because out on the course, you hit off of the grass – not mats. Hitting off mats does not prepare you with what the feeling is out on the course of taking a good divot with the ball.

Next, it was very important to have a perfectly flat landing area out on the outfield; therefore, all the yardages would be 100% accurate from the tee. If you’re hitting downhill, you get extra yardage and when you hit uphill, you lose yardage, which therefore makes your yardage consistency confusing when you’re trying to see exactly how far you do hit all your clubs and that’s no good at all. So, I had the land scraped level and made totally flat and perfect to build the 11 target greens on.

I built and seeded 11 bentgrass golf greens out on the outfield. I spaced them out at exactly 10 yards apart. The reason for that is because the way that lofts are designed for your irons, they’re spaced out in increments that you should be around 8-10 yards up or down per club, as you go through your bag of clubs. For example, if you hit your 7 iron 150 yards, you should be around 158-160 yards with your 6 iron and between 140-142 yards with your 8 iron. So, my reasoning for the 10-yard increments, is that you can start shooting at the 100-yard flag, then change one club up and go to the 110-yard flag, change up one club, hit to the 120-yard flag and keep going right through your bag of clubs up to flag #11, which is at exactly the 200-yard mark.

The range is called Ironwedge because you use irons and wedges mainly. Golfers who don’t hit it terribly far can even use hybrid clubs and some woods. I just strongly enforce that no one hits past the 200 yard property fence. It ticks off my neighbour, and me. So PLEASE don’t.

There are other ranges around that cater to the customer just looking to hit driver. My facility is to cater to those who want to work on their game. Look, you only hit driver around 12-15 times max on any given golf course. But, you hit irons and wedges all the rest of the time on the course. If you usually shoot even par, that means you’ve only hit roughly 41 total shots if you used putter for 30 of those putts into the hole. Well, out of 41 shots, you’ve only hit about 13 drives total in the day. The rest of those 28 shots, were all with your irons and wedges! Do the math with YOUR own game. How many times in the day of your round of golf are you holding your driver, compared to how many times are you using your irons and wedges? Golfers who shoot in the 90s, the ratio of woods vs irons and wedges over the course of their round will be even higher, with someone using their irons and wedges for more than 30 to 40 shots over just 13 with their driver. Which shots would you say help you score the best scores? That’s my point.

Here, at Ironwedge Target Greens Range, you’re working on the shots that will make you a better golfer when you go out onto the course. Here, you’ll become a better player. Go to a range and just hit an entire bucket with nothing but driver and you’ll most likely keep shooting high scores with no change at all. Work on your “money clubs” and watch your scores drop! Just look at your bag at the end of a round of golf and see which clubs got dirty and you used the most. Those are the clubs you need to hit on the range the most and practice with!

The next important thing that I wanted to offer the customer for added consistency and accuracy of yardages is all the same brand and model of ball. Customers who have hit at ranges who use mixed bag, assorted brands of balls know that it is just impossible to get your yardages down. One shot you hit a hard, long distance ball, then the next a soft high-spinning ball and you can be off by over 10 yards using the exact same club! Not good. Here at Ironwedge, the customer uses the exact same brand and model of ball right through the entire bucket of balls in their practice session. The way it should be for accuracy and consistency.

The 3 things that I am offering to those serious game-improvement range customers are as follows:

  1. Professionally manicured flat and level all-grass hitting area
  2. Perfectly measured and marked yardages from 100 yards to 200 yards, in 10-yard increments
  3. Brand new, all the same brand and model Pinnacle® Practice premium range balls

That is really all that you need to improve your golf scores.

Golf club companies are inventing and selling “Game Improvement” clubs. I am offering a Game Improvement range. Work on your irons, lower your scores!

I welcome you to come out and try my premium golf practice facility, and play better golf out on the course.

Sincerely yours in golf,

Darrell D. Day
30 Year Member
Founder, Ironwedge Target Greens Range

A Life Long Passion for Golf article