There are very few certainties in the game of golf. Here's one: If you're on the practice tee hitting balls, and someone walks up next to you and begins his practice session by pulling out his driver, that guy is not a player. No good player begins a warm-up or practice session with a driver-or any long club, for that matter.
All good players begin-and end-their practice or warm-up sessions by hitting less-than-full wedge shots. Half wedges are a wonderful foundation upon which to build your full swing. They demand excellent tempo and timing, and they require that you start your swing in a fundamentally sound way-you simply cannot hit a half wedge with any consistency if you pull the club too far to the inside, or lift it up abruptly to begin your backswing. If you start your practice session by ripping drivers, you don't give yourself the opportunity to develop a sense of rhythm and timing and, if you're not careful, it's easy to allow swing faults to creep into your game-faults that you could spend the rest of your range time trying to sort out.
By finishing your range session with less-than-full wedges, you'll again have the opportunity to focus on rhythm and tempo and smooth out any glitches that have crept into your swing with your longer clubs. In addition, you're forcing yourself to practice those tricky 40-80 yard touch shots that are so crucial to scoring well. You'll walk away from the practice tee cooler, calmer and more confident-the perfect state to start your round. Or, if you're not playing that day, you're ready to drive home happy, with your swing's tempo and fundamentals on solid ground