“The more I practice, the luckier I get” – Gary Player
How much time do you spend practicing your golf game? The amount of time we spend honing our skills off the course is equally, if not more important than the time we spend playing.
During a round is not the time to be making sure your fundamentals are correct or for tweaking your takeaway and putting stroke. It will end up doing you more harm than good.
During the winter months especially, getting to the golf course or practice range as often as we would like is just not an option. Life, the weather and the shorter days just seem to get in the way.
But, whatever time of year it is, just because we can’t get outside to the course, it doesn’t mean that we can’t spend time sharpening up all aspects of our game without even leaving the house.
If you want to know how to practice golf at home then I have put together some useful and productive drills and exercises for you to try which will help keep your game progressing in the right direction.
1. Improve Your Golfing Fitness
Let’s start with a golfing exercise you need very little room for, and one that will help improve all aspects of your game. Probably the most forgotten about golfing exercise of all…… exercise itself.
Improving your overall health, fitness, and flexibility at home is going to help your golf in many ways. Improvements in your posture, balance, clubhead speed, and your overall range of motion. It will allow you to swing the golf club with more flexibility and ease, helping you to add a few extra yards to your drives, and more control to your iron shots.
There are plenty of resources online to help you find the right exercises, but the things you want to focus on most are:
- Balance and flexibility – Yoga and stretching are perfect for these
- Core strength – Again yoga or pilates are great for this, along with any other abdominal exercises like the plank.
- Overall muscular strength – Bodyweight exercises are perfect, and If you have some dumbbells at home, then there are a huge amount of different exercises that you can do to help add strength and power to your game.
Youtube is full of home-based exercise routines you can choose from so take your pick. Exercise is a very personal thing, so make sure whatever you choose is something you will enjoy.
Keeping fit for golf at home requires very little room, and is something that will help you in every aspect of your life, not just your golf.
2. The Full-Length Mirror Is Your Best Friend
Your fundamentals are the most important part of your golf set up and if you have a full-length mirror and a club from your bag, there are several drills you can do to ensure you have the basics right.
Your Grip – As much as 90% of swing issues are caused by a poor set up and it all starts with the grip. By practicing your grip in front of a mirror, it will ensure that your hands are exactly where they need to be on the club and how they sit and look together. Seeing this from every angle will give you confidence on the course that you have it right.
The guys from ‘Me And My Golf’ have a great video on how to get the perfect golf grip that you can watch here. Take what you learn from this and practice it in front of the mirror until it becomes second nature to you.
Your Posture – I sometimes suffer from a bad posture in my golf swing and by standing in front of a mirror and taking my normal set up position I can adjust the angle of my spine, the bend in my knees, whatever it may be, so that I know exactly what my body should look like, and in turn feel like.
Take these posture set up tips and practice them in front of the mirror to ensure you have a clear idea of a good golf posture which is key to success in your golf swing.
You can utilize the mirror for your set up position, your takeaway position and to see where your club is at the top of your swing. By seeing your body in these different positions, it will help you to understand where you may be going wrong on the course.
3. Swing Drills
If it’s raining outside or you don’t have a garage, you can still practice your golf swing indoors. Just make sure that you have a space in your house where you can comfortably make a full swing. If you do have any issues then you can:
- Simply grip down the club you are using
- If you are confident enough and have an old spare club, you can shorten it down to use purely for practice
- Or you can invest in a swing trainer like the one I use. It’s much shorter than a normal club, has a training grip attached to it, and is weighted at the bottom end to help improve your tempo and swing speed.
Firstly, and you can still use the full-length mirror here, the main aim is to slowly move your club into the required positions throughout your full swing to check your positions, and then use the feedback from the mirror to make adjustments as you go.
Another great drill is to simply take two similar length clubs (8 and 9 iron) and wrap your hands around both.
Then you want to make a normal backswing and you should instantly feel a pulling when at the top of the backswing through the added weight of the second club.
Continue to swing through and finish a full swing with both clubs. Do this for anywhere between 5-10 times and then move back to the one club.
This is great for improving your control of the golf club, especially at the top of the backswing, and it will also help you to add speed to your swing, because one club is going to feel so much lighter than two. This again is a great drill to practice in front of the mirror.
If you have the room in your garden or garage then you can of course practice with a net hitting full shots with some golf balls, but the downside to this is that you don’t see where the ball is going, and you are unable to see if there are any issues in your set up or posture.
4. Putting At Home
Everybody wants to improve their putting and there is no better way to do this than by practicing at home. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to practicing your putting at home:
- If you have carpeted floors, then although the ball will run quite slowly across them in relation to the stimp meter, it is a great drill for gaining the feel and control of your putter. Get a trusty old school mug as a pretend target hole and you are all set
- Another great drill is to balance a coin on one golf ball at one end of the room and the object of the exercise is to practice putting another ball as close as you can so that it touches the other golf ball but doesn’t knock the coin off
- If you have a rug at home, have some room along your skirting or can lay some form of tape down on the floor (ensuring it is straight) then a great exercise is to practice your putting stroke ensuring your backstroke doesn’t go over the line of the rug or tape, and doesn’t hit the skirting. This helps ensure that you build a solid, straight and repeatable putting stroke
- Of course, the other option is to use one of the many putting mats that are currently available which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
However, you decide to putt at home the most important thing to remember is that your stroke should remain square to your target and that your swing should stay smooth with a slight acceleration through the ball.
5. Mental Practice
The mental side of the game is a rather underrated and neglected area, especially when it comes to amateur golfers. Visualization techniques and trying to build confidence in your own game are greats ways to improve your golf at home.
Many professional golfers have mind coaches and use various imagery exercises to help them be at their best on the course, so why shouldn’t we take a leaf from their book and sharpen up our minds as much as our swings.
Imagery – The first exercise is to visualize how you want your swing to look. Picture what you see as your perfect swing in your mind, how it feels, what your arms are doing and where your wrists are at impact for example. The mind can be a very powerful tool, and by visualizing the perfect swing in your mind, it can often help to create a better swing on the course.
Course Management – If you are playing the same course week in, week out, then going over your perfect round in your mind is a great way to help build confidence in your game, and to give you some sort of game plan before teeing off.
Seeing where you want your tee shot to land on each hole, which side of the fairway you want to land it on to give yourself the best shot onto the green, and where are the danger points on the course.
Visualizing your round like this at home is a great way to help build confidence in and improve your game. If you have played the course before, try to remember the best shots you have hit on each hole, what club you took, how you felt and what was going through your mind at the time.
This builds overall confidence in your game, and no matter where you are playing, these little mental tricks will go a long way in helping you to stay calm, positive and energized about your round, and more importantly your next shot.
6. A Few Bonus Practice Drills
As well as the exercises we have already discussed to help you to practice your golf at home, there are a few other things you can do:
- Simply watch more golf. Your family members may end up fighting you for the remote, but as well as being entertaining, you can learn a lot from watching how the professionals play the game. It’s not just about copying their swing, but how they manage the course, the time they take over their shots and their pre-shot routines.
- Magazines, books, and DVDs. Watching some instructional DVDs, reading up on the latest tips and gadgets and simply following your favorite golf vloggers on youtube can be a great way to pick up hints and tips for your golf game in the comfort of your own home
- And finally, you don’t have to go out there and spend a huge amount of money on all of the latest gadgets to help improve your golf game. Various household items can prove to be equally as useful during your practice. This list is a great example.
So there you have it. Not being able to get to the golf course or driving range is simply no excuse when it comes to improving your golf game. Hopefully, we have provided you with various and interesting ways to practice golf at home whether you are stuck there because of the weather, or you have 15 minutes spare each evening before bed.
The whole idea is to make practice fun and equally as useful. Aimlessly swinging your club without taking any notice of how your body and club are moving in relation to your swing is going to get you nowhere fast.
Effective practice at home is not about spending your money on the most expensive gadgets, it’s about ensuring whatever gadgets and drills you use have a positive impact on your game.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.