How to get the most out of practicing golf at home

In this post, I share ideas on how to get the most out of your golf practice session at home. With even a basic set up and some creativity and discipline, you may never need to go to the driving range again. 

We all know that to get better at golf, we need to practice...and practice. But with most of us having full time jobs to support this expensive hobby as well as our families (in priority order?), going to the driving range is just sometimes not viable.

 Even when we can get to the range, how many of us can satisfactory answer the following two questions:

  1. What did I work on?
  2. Did I make progress on what I was working on?

    If your answer to both questions is 'I just beat some balls'...then please read on as I believe home practice is not only more time friendly, it can help you to get better quicker.

    You can never do too much putting

    As the old saying goes - drive for show and putt for doe. We may not all have the physique to smash it 350+ yards, but all of us have the potential to out-putt Bryson... or at least not 3-putt every 3rd hole. 

    home putting practice

    So get the putting mat out and work on your aim, stroke and distance control. For the budget conscious, even putting on your carpet at a bottle or a cup on the floor regularly would go a long way in eliminating those nasty 3 putts. 

    Add a bit of pressure to your practice by introducing some consequence to the practice, I try to sink 20 consecutive 4 footers everyday (as pictured), and will start over again if I missed one. This has definitely made my knees a bit steadier over those 3,4 footers. 

    Work on your chipping

    Fact - everybody misses greens. Yet how often do you see someone at the driving range chipping balls 10m in front of them? Most golfers would only "work" on their chipping 10min before their tee time. 

    Set some targets in the backyard or chip into a net, and make sure you get that all important "feel" around the greens. 

    Work on your trajectory with your wedges by chipping through the different "windows" on a ladder. You will be able to transform your control around the greens if you can master this. Here's a video which explains it in a bit more detail.

     Golf chipping ladder practice drill

    Strike is King

    Do you have a tendency to hit a particular part of the clubface? Or do you have a "scatter plot"? 

    Where you strike the ball on the face (especially for those that come with head covers) has a massive impact on distance, direction and curvature. You might be swinging the club exactly the same way but if you strike the ball with different parts of the face, then you will see a wild array of results, golf becomes really difficult then. 

    An easy way to get this feedback is by applying a film of foot powder spray ($10 on Amazon) and seeing where you are leaving a mark after you hit the ball. This will be valuable information to discuss with your coach or for "self-discovery" via YouTube. Here's another really information video which explores this topic in a lot more detail. 

     Golf strike measure with foot spray

    Set a aim

    Even if you are at a driving range, most people may not be able to tell you where they want to start the ball. When hitting into a net, don't just hit shot after shot "at the net". Be more specific with your start direction by place something behind the net. I've pushed an alignment stick into the garden bed in the photo below, hanging a string or a bullseye from the top of your net will also work well, be creative.

    Golf net practice - set aim

    Feel vs. Real 

    News flash! What you feel like you are doing in your golf swing can be very different to what you are actually doing. 

    This is why you need to film yourself. Whether you are self-diagnosing or working with a coach, filming yourself during practice will give you instant feedback on whether you are achieving the particular movements you are targeting (not humping the goat for me). There is literally no point in banging through a large bucket at the driving range thinking you've done a drill or a movement correctly with no validation that that's actually happened.

    There are a plethora of videos online on how to set the camera up  as well as a number of video analysis apps (such as 'V1 Golf') so give this a go and meet your golf swing in person. You might be surprised. 

    Video your golf swing

    You could also groove your swing plane by sticking some alignment sticks into the ground. If you are on a hard surface, you can stick it in a flower pot... again be creative.

    Swing plane golf practice

    Work with a launch monitor

    I've left this last as this is not something that may be in everyone's budget. 

    For outside practice, I typically use the PRGR radar launch monitor. It is a relatively inexpensive unit (~$300) which gives very accurate readings of swing speed, ball speed and carry distance (estimated). It's a great unit for practicing distance control with irons and wedges and is essential for swing speed training as you can't really feel a 2mph gain. 

    PRGR launch monitor

    Indoors, the Skytrak launch monitor will provide additional ball data and simulate ball flight. It has been a great addition to Kaizen-HQ.

    Skytrak launch monitor golf

    To Sum Up

    Practicing golf at home is a great alternative to range practice. If done well and with purpose, it can even be more productive and lead to faster improvements. 

    At Kaizen Golf, we have home driving range packages which cost less than the price of 10 large buckets. Imagine being able to hit balls everyday - you might not want to go to the driving range again. 

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