Driving Range

Why is the driving range irons-only?
 
After the driving range nets were damaged in an ice storm in December 2013, the decision was made leave the nets down and keep the range irons-only.  While distance was a factor, the key to the decision was the direction that mishits can take off of drivers, fairway metals, and hybrids compared to irons.
 
Most drivers, fairway metals, and hybrids have a ‘bulge’, or a curved face from heel to toe. This creates what is known as the ‘gear effect’ on off centre hits. Here are a couple of explanations:
 
http://www.golfclub-technology.com/gear-effect.html
http://www.leaderboard.com/glossary_geareffect
 
A ball that is hit off centre on a driver/fairway metal/hybrid has the potential to hook or slice much more than an iron, which has a flat face. Allowing the use of clubs that have bulged faces increases the likelihood of errant balls entering the 2nd and 9th holes.
 
Other things to consider:
  • Distance to targets change daily. Longest target (blue flag) can play 140 yds when the tees are at the front and 175 yds when at the back.
  • There is no full-time range attendant to police how people are practising.
  • Possible scenario: Member #1 is hitting her driver at the range downwind 110 yards. An unaccompanied guest heads to the range as his buddy checks the group into the Pro Shop. He sets up beside Member #1 and assumes he can hit his driver out there as well. Member #2 is hit in the temple while playing the 2nd hole.
We now have two TrackMan simulators where you can hit drivers (conveniently located on the way to the 1st tee), and a cool hitting cage installed beside the 1st tee.

Drivers are permitted at the range every second Monday until noon on maintenance days.