If you enjoy your golf but do not relish the thought of always leaving your dog behind at home, then you can have a dilemma on your hands.
Do you take the dog out for a quick 10-minute walk before you head off to enjoy yourself at the driving range for an hour or two or do you take the dog with you?
Many people would like to take their dog with them but if you are one of them you might wonder if it is ok to bring a dog to the driving range.
As a general rule golf driving ranges allow you to bring a dog and it is a great way to get them to enjoy some time with you outside in a different environment. It is important to know however that not every driving range is the same and it is always wise to call ahead before going to make sure it is ok.
Any dog owner will tell you how enriching the experience can be to spend some quality time outside with your dog doing something you love.
And taking your dog to the driving range can be a hugely enjoyable and fruitful experience if you approach it in the right way and make sure you are prepared.
So in the remainder of this article, we run through the key tips and preparation steps you should take to make sure you too can enjoy a great trip to the driving range with your dog.
Does Every Driving Range Allow Dogs? Make Sure to Check.
It is important to remember that while you may love dogs not everyone in the world does.
As difficult as it may be for you to understand not everyone will love and appreciate your fun-loving and well-behaved dog as much as you do.
As a result it is always important to consider the feelings of others whenever you take your dog outside your home with you and this includes when you are thinking about whether to take your dog to the driving range.
Many golf driving ranges permit dogs but not all of them will. Also even when driving ranges do allow customers to bring dogs many do not have any published rules on the subject so it is always worth calling ahead of time to get permission and check whether there are any guidelines they want you to follow.
Whenever you are able to take your dog to the driving range however there are two main things you need to think about before you head off:
- What is your dog going to do while you are hitting balls?
- How can you make sure your dog is going to be safe on the driving range?
Taking the first of these you must always remember that your dog is used to receiving most of your attention so you will need to make sure they have something to do while you are hitting golf balls.
If it’s the first time you have taken them golfing with you to the driving range they may not understand that they need to keep still and quiet while you are hitting balls and indeed may even think you’ve brought them along for the biggest game of fetch ever!
So since you know your dog better than anyone else, you will just want to make sure that you and your dog are prepared ahead of time.
Keep in mind that a driving range is not a park. Your dog can not just run around and wait for you to finish. You will need to keep your dog with you at all times and on a leash if required.
This is therefore a good time to have some of their favourite toys handy so they can play with them while you are practising.
The second main and key element when you take your dog to the driving range is of course safety.
Not only are you your own dog’s caretaker who is in charge of making sure they stay safe with you on the driving range but you are also responsible that your dog’s behaviour doesn’t affect the safety of others at the same time.
It is important clearly therefore that you consider some simple guidelines to ensure you, your dog and those around you at the driving range can not be potentially be harmed by considering the following:
- Keeping your dog on a leash to keep them away from any flying balls.
- Provding enough slack on the leash so your dog can roam around a bit.
- Making sure you are at a driving range bay away from other people if possible.
This general advice is designed to help keep your dog safe when at the driving range but as we have already mentioned you know your dog better than anyone and will know how suited they are to being around potentially lots of people hitting balls into a large field.
If you know your dog is always excitable and unlikely to be able to stay calm in such situations you might want to reconsider bringing them with you.
5 Steps to Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Driving Range
Taking your dog with you to the driving range can be a lot of fun and lets you both enjoy being outside together.
If you are not prepared however, especially if you are taking your dog for the first time, you will likely end up back in the car heading home after hitting only one or two shots.
So here are 5 key preparation steps for you to follow to try and make sure both you and your dog can enjoy golf at the driving range together:
1. Make Sure You Call Ahead
You will want to make sure first and foremost that the driving range you are heading to allows dogs to be with you while you are hitting balls.
A quick call to the driving range prior to loading up the clubs in the car and getting your dog excited about the trip will save you a lot of hassle.
What you will find when thinking about taking your dog with you is that many driving ranges do no publish anything on their website which will confirm that they are dog friendly. But that doesn’t mean they definitely do NOT allow dogs.
So there’s only one way to make sure and that is to ask them.
Many driving ranges are happy for you to bring a dog with you and if you speak to them ahead of time it will also give you chance to find out if they have any specific rules.
One local driving range I called to check if it was ok to bring my dog said it was “as long as it was on a leash behind you”.
However, that same driving range complex said it was NOT ok to take my dog onto the short par 3 course they have at the same facility.
Another driving range close to me however simply said yes “as long as it is well behaved” so as you can see it’s good idea to simply call ahead and find out what the relevant rules are at the driving range you are going to.
2. Choose Your Time Wisely
It is a good idea to head to the driving range when they are going to be fewer people around and this is especially important if it is the first time you are taking your dog with you.
At many driving ranges the quieter times tend to be early in the morning or later in the evening but this is another thing that you can confirm directly with the driving range when you’re asking them if it is ok to bring dogs.
Remember that you know your dog best and this is a time for you and your dog to be together so you are best placed to consider whether your dog will respond well if there are a bunch of people around hitting golf balls at the same time as you are or whether you may need to build up to it by starting to take them at quieter times.
3. Remember the Leash and to Clean Up!
Even if you are certain before you go that your dog will never run away from you at the driving range, you will almost certainly have to have them on a leash at all times.
This is a requirement at the vast majority of driving ranges and even if it is not it is still wise to take it with you. If your dog is not under control at all times it will be a short trip!
So if you are not going to be willing to put your dog on a leash at any time when you are at the driving range you should not bring your dog.
Remember also that most communities today have a leash law in place which will include driving ranges.
And although this clearly goes without saying never be tempted to leave some of your dog’s ‘business’ off to the side of the range if there’s a nice ‘natural’ spot for your dog to go.
If it’s an indoor or town driving range that’s obviously not an option but if your local driving range is in a nice big open space this is clearly still never the thing to do so always pick after your dog if you have to!
4. Don’t Forget The Toys
While you are having a great time cracking your driver into the distance at the driving range your dog might get bored watching you have all the fun.
It’s always a good idea therefore to bring a toy or two for them to play with while they sit with you at the range. You know what favourite toy normally keeps them happy for a good bit of time so don’t forget to bring that along with you to keep them interested and entertained.
Better they are interested in a toy than the golf balls they are watching being smashed consistently all around them. A driving range is not the place for a game of fetch!
5. Remember the Water and Treats
Last but by no means least is water.
Don’t forget to bring along a water dish with you for your dog especially if it’s a hot day.
Your dog obviously needs access to water in the same way you need a drink at the driving range so make sure they can reach their water dish from wherever you leave them lying.
Bringing along some treats doesn’t hurt either especially if this is one of the first times you are taking them to the driving range and you are wanting to train some good behaviour.
Now that you know it can be possible to take your dog to the driving range with you it’s all about finding the places locally that will let you do it.
You might have to contact a few different ranges in your area to find one that is dog friendly but I would be very surprised if they all say no.
And once you starting heading to range with your dog you might wonder why it took you so long to do it!