Practical Ways to Practice Golf At Home
With courses opening up again all over the country, golfers with cabin fever can finally get back out on the links to play the game we all love so much. While those first few rounds might be much more stressful than you bargained for, as long as you play safe with our guide to golfing during COVID-19, that rust will eventually shake off.
Even with all the positive curve-flattening news on the horizon, and the prospect of easing up on quarantine restrictions, there is no denying that the idea of going back to work, in an office at least, sounds really foreign and far away. But I’m not here to dash your hopes, I’m here to convert you to the school of at-home golf practice.
Instead of dwelling on everything you may have had to give up, think about all the things that you don’t have to do anymore. Remember your commute? Or that team happy hour that was neither happy nor only an hour? Instead of spending that time mindlessly combing through Netflix, or agonizing about what could have been, use it.
If your commute was an hour both ways, your week just got 10 hours longer. Imagine if you spent those ten hours honing a skill, and really gave yourself to it? Sure, you might not understand all the pop cultural references on that next Zoom meeting, but you might just be the ringer at your company’s next golf outing.
How to Practice Golf At Home
When reflecting on your own golf game, there’s a lot to think about. I, for one, have a lingering slice and struggle with impact location. All winter, I imagine golfing in my head, remembering all the previous season’s greatest shots, which only seems to make everything much worse. Getting back into the rhythm of my swing, relearning my cadence and getting back whatever touch I think that I mastered the previous year seem to take almost all summer.
That’s why practicing at home is so important. It’s not enough for me to just swing a club around in my house from time to time, or mindlessly putting into a cup in my hallway: drills and proper equipment are key to understanding what I’m getting right and what’s going horribly wrong.
Practice Golf Indoors With Putting Drills
Depending on the amount of room you have available to you, and the permanence of that room, you could go a few ways with at-home putting. From a simple automatic return cup in your office, to a permanent patch of green in your basement, short game is probably the easiest thing to recreate effectively at home.
First up, try to objectively look at your short game to determine where you’re lacking. Once you’re done with that small bit of soul searching, find some drills that will help you work on that part of your game. These 8 indoor golf putting drills really helped me, but there are plenty of resources out there that might work better for you or your situation so don’t be afraid to search around.
In addition to the drills, you can get the Perfect Practice Putting Mat for the precision work. The 2020 Indoor Golf Product of the Year is certainly worth a look, and has a handsome wooden frame that will make a great addition to any den, basement or hallway. You could even take it out on your back patio if you’re lucky enough to 1: have one, and 2: be somewhere with good weather.
For those of you with a little more money to spend, and a space you’d really like to turn into an all-weather golfing station, the people over at Rain or Shine Golf have some amazing indoor putting greens just waiting to be custom built for you. These will really outfit your space in country club style, making your basement or garage the envy of the neighborhood.
And while your at it, take your slice of indoor golf heaven to the next level with a display case for your golf trophies and don’t forget a golf club stand. You don’t want the magic stick or those short irons getting dinged up on the garage floor. Remember, the more you love your golf practice space, the more likely you are to use it!
Perfect Your Short Game At Home
It might not be as easy as pulling out your putter for a quick couple of shots, but doing some effective chipping practice at home is still not too far out of reach. From chipping wiffle/foam balls at a hula hoop in your basement, to setting up a net for full shots in your backyard, there are a lot of different ways you can practice effectively at home.
With little effort, you can easily set up the Haack Chipping Net from Rukket Sports in your garage, basement, or spare room. There’s a dual purpose hitting mat (rough and short grass) that you can easily move for quick setup and storage, allowing you to practice those thin lies from different angles and distances. Of course, shooting into a vertical line of pockets won’t be an exact proxy for being out on the course, but it will certainly help you hone your control.
For an outdoor experience that will let you practice a much fuller swing, a bigger net like this Maxfli 9′ x 8′ Performance Golf Hitting Net that will give you the ability to take fuller swings and have something a little different to shoot at. And with the targets removed, this can convert for use as a net to catch balls from any of your clubs.
Of course, practicing with aimless repetition isn’t necessarily the best way for most golfers to improve their game, so just as with everything, I recommend you practice with purpose and with a plan in mind. This set of chipping drills from Golf Influence has really been beneficial on those days where it’s not so nice outside, and I just want to focus on specific elements of my swing. This is really golfer specific, so find an instructor, influencer or pro whose drills work for you.
How to Practice Your Golf Swing at Home
As most golfers know, setting up a drive station at home is two things: expensive and a space hog. In my dream world, I’d have a basement where I could somehow afford to set up a golf simulator to spend the winter honing my game on my own terms. This is still a long way away for me.
That being said, there are effective ways to practice your long game without breaking the bank. The Maxfly hitting net I mentioned above propped up in your backyard is all the real equipment that you need if used effectively. As Jon Sherman from Practical Golf illustrates here, impact position is a key metric in honing your swing.
The main problem with nets is that it’s hard to tell where your ball would go once it’s in the air. Just because my ball goes straight for a couple of yards, and the launch angle looked good, doesn’t mean that some gnarly spin wouldn’t make it land 50 yards off target. For the price of a cheap can of foot spray or spray chalk, you can gain an understanding of where you’re striking the ball. Through visual means, you can train your swing to alleviate slices and hooks without overcompensating and moving too far the other way.
Of course, foot spray can only tell you one thing about your swing (namely, where you’re making contact with the ball), so we need to bring out the big guns to get a better understanding of the big picture. If this sounds technologically advanced, it’s because it is, and it’ll cost ya.
The Mevo from FlightScope is a personal, portable launch monitor to help you improve performance. A great value at $499, it will tell you your club head and ball speeds, spin rate, carry distance and more. It’s not the only launch monitor in town, so if you want to do some research check out this article on the best personal launch monitors in 2019 from My Golf Spy.
This blog really wouldn’t be complete without looking at some dream setups for practicing golf at home. The YouTube video above from Mike Sullivan might be the most envy-inducing indoor hitting range I have ever seen. While it’s certainly not as expensive as these primo indoor golf simulators featured in Rain or Shine Golf, there’s something that appeals to me about taking full swings right next to my basement office, which you can do with these indoor golf setups from The Net Return. I can just picture myself getting up sporadically to take a few cracks before going back to work. A far-away dream.
So, there are a lot of things you can do to practice golf at home, whether you’re putting into a coffee mug, or whacking drives into an $8,000 virtual Augusta National. I, for one, think it’s about time I start using some of my newly acquired spare time to work at improving at something I actually love.