If you’re looking for more practice time or are trapped indoors for the winter, consider the possibilities of golf practice at your home. At-home practice sessions can be indoors or outdoors and can take from only a few minutes up to a few hours.
There are all kinds of gadgets and equipment for at-home practice: nets, mats, a variety of artificial surfaces, simulators, putting aids, and other training aids. You can set up a practice area in your garage, basement, or backyard; or you can just putt and chip in your family room. You can invest a little or a lot of money in at-home practice, or you can go the do-it-yourself route (use a few clubs, balls and common items found around the house).
Home is a great place to practice your short game. You can also work out the kinks in your golf swing and sharpen your fundamentals.
In this article are some tips, drills and ideas to consider, with a caveat from legendary golf coach Harvey Penick, author of the bestselling Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book:
“Golf tips are like aspirin. One may do you good, but if you swallow the whole bottle you will be lucky to survive.”
Swing a Heavy or Weighted Club
This one might seem boring, but it will help you to be stronger and more flexible, as well as improve your muscle education.
“If you can do 25 to 50 swings a day with a heavy club, I find it makes a big difference come spring,” said PGA head club professional Kevin Piecuch.
If you don’t have a weighted club or are considering a training aid for this, The Orange Whip is the swing trainer I use. It helps me work on my strength and flexibility. The added bonus for this is that the flexible shaft on it forces me to use much better synchronization of my full swing. Find a spot at home where you can comfortably make a full golf swing.
The bottom line here is that swing speed equals distance and if you are looking to add yards to your golf shots, this drill will do that for you quickly.
Hit Balls Into a Net
This is one that gets drowned out a lot because most of the coaches that write articles on this specific topic don’t talk enough about how many options you truly have here. Your options are as follows:
- Just Get a Hitting Net
- Use a Launch Monitor With Your Net and Mat
Launch monitors also come in all shapes and sizes so choose wisely. The most important numbers to grab will be swing speed, ball speed, and carry distance. Beyond that you can look at your spin rate, angle of attack, swing path, face angle, and all that magical stuff. Launch monitors are tricky to recommend at the budget level because you get what you pay for. The Voice Caddy SC200 is my recommendation for a less expensive model.
- Start Building Your Simulator
As with any piece of equipment that collects data, there will be different price points and levels of quality to choose from and golf simulators are no different. You can build it with just the SIM unit and a net or you can make a full scale setup with mats, nets, PCs and projectors. Models and options are robust. You have the lower-end setups like OptiShot, then you have more expensive models like SkyTrak, or you can go all out with Full Swing (Tiger Woods’ sim of choice).
Indoor Putting Drills
Putting is my favorite thing to work on at home. Now, I have carpet in the entire downstairs of my house so I have a lot of options. If you don’t then there are many options of putting mats for you. I have two favorites that I use. One is for alignment and putter path and the other is for shorter putts and concentrating on the center of the hole and proper pace.
For my short putts and to really hone my alignment and fundamentals, I use the Varispeed Putting Mat. This mat has all of the alignment aids on it as well as multiple targets for you to choose from. It is a fast green going one direction for those of you that play on slicker courses and a slower green going the other direction to simulate municipal and public courses. Something for everyone in this mat.
My new favorite is called the NeuraPutt . It’s a small and easy-to -use device that has two versions (indoor and outdoor). It’s a gated golf hole that has post on the sides of the hole. There are three different sizes of posts that force you to focus on hitting the CENTER of the hole.
Indoor Chipping Drills
Whether off an artificial mat or carpet, practice short chips to a target. Get the feel of striking solid chips and consistently flying the ball a short distance with a few lofted clubs. One drill is to place a small towel six to 10 feet away. Practice landing your chips on the towel. This will help improve feel and distance control.
Use a Full-Length Mirror
Use a mirror for several drills. Check and practice your takeaway, the critical first move in your golf swing. Also check your posture, ball position, and swing plane.
Watch Golf Coverage
Not only is it entertaining, but you can learn a lot by watching the pros. Copy their technique, where applicable, and channel their swing tempo. Study their course management and decision-making. While watching, work on your golf grip, getting the feel of the golf club in your hands, including grip pressure. Use the time wisely to build your golf IQ and your muscle education.
Recommended Books on Golf
Read your way to improvement in the quiet of your home.
These are just some of the many ways to incorporate home practice into your golf game. Be creative and make it fun. Your game will flourish and you can break the monotony of being stuck at home. Cheers!