The 10 best ways to improve your game when you’re stuck at home
Are you stuck at home? Well, you can still make the best of it. Here are some suggestions to the golfers who are trying to make this time away as productive as possible. Keeping busy can be a blessing for your game, if you do it right.
1. Practice your fundamentals in the mirror
So much of your level of success for each and every golf shot starts with your set up. I often say a good set up is worth it’s weight in gold. And I think you can see it when you watch other golfers. The ones who look balanced and athletic at setup are usually the best golfers.
I realize that everyone is built differently, so postures can vary, but a good basic posture would be to bend from your hips forward so that your hands can hang below your shoulders as if your arms were a straight line down. I also suggest you practice this with different length clubs so that you can understand one basic posture for each and every club.
You can improve your grip by relaxing your lead arm and allowing it to hang and seeing what it looks like when it hangs. You should try to replicate this hanging position as well as learn to hold the club more into your fingers.
2. Do balance drills
Being in balance at address and throughout your golf swing is really important. I was fortunate enough to play in the Els for Autism Pro-Am with Rory McIlroy. His balance was amazing. I watched every shot he hit and it just seemed to me that he was in perfect balance every second of his golf swing and, needless to say, his contact was very impressive. You can practice this at home by taking swings with your feet close together. This will automatically teach you to make a swing that is in balance. Should you make note of any unnecessary motions that would cause you to lose balance, and over time you will learn to limit these.
Even though your feet are closer together you should still pivot off of your back heel if you do this in your regular swing and also try to hold this finish for a couple of seconds. Better balance will always be rewarded with higher levels of consistency.
3. Work on your rhythm
Good rhythm and timing can be practiced at home without a golf ball. Assuming that your grip and posture are reasonable, a continuous swing will be rewarded with good solid shots. At times, thinking too much or trying to produce a result, rather than focusing on your process, can cause issues with shots that aren’t as good as you might like.
One of my favorite drills that I learned from Mike Adams was to swing continuously back and through without stopping for three of four full swings. The goal of keeping the club moving will help build efficiencies in your swing and the momentum will help you to learn your best rhythm.
4. Speed training
I don’t think any of my students would complain they are hitting it too far. And since many of us are not on a golf course now, this can be the ideal time to work on speed. One of my favorite products is the Super Speed golf training system (which you can buy for 10% off with the promo code GOLFMAG). Their product and training protocols are proven, as well as comprehensive and not overly time consuming. I would highly recommend this system to anyone looking to increase their distance, and I do suggest them to my students.
5. Head still putting
One of the most common mistakes made by golfers is that they move their head and body when they putt. I would be willing to say it is the biggest difference between recreational golfers and playing professionals. This is another really important fundamental you could practice at home in your mirror.
Set yourself up to roll a ball and then look up in the mirror and make sure that your head and your eyes do not shift or move at all during your stroke. You could also check by seeing that your lower body or knees don’t move either. When your head moves during your putting stroke, your shoulder line often changes, which will directly affect the path of the stroke. This movement can often make it difficult to control distance. If you are moving at all you will certainly see it when looking in the mirror. Practice this and then roll the ball just looking at the ball and transfer the correct motion into your stroke. This will pay off greatly when you are back on your putting green at your course.
6. Short putt practice
Those three and four foot putts that can make or break a good round are so important. This is the perfect time to practice these and there are so many great training aids to help you learn to aim your putter face properly as well as align your body — shoulders and forearms being the priority. These putting mats or training aids can also help you to improve your stroke path as well as your make percentage.
Start by choosing a number of putts that you need to make in a row and when you have success, increase this quality goal. For example: I am going to make 20 three-foot putts in a row. Once that task becomes easy, either increase the number in a row or the distance of the putt.
7. Find your favorite teacher on social media
One of the quickest ways to improve your golf game is to better understand what you are trying to do and why, for your full swing as well your short game shots. There certainly is a lot of free video out there, and a lot of it is very good. You do want to be careful that you do not listen to too many different voices because this could lead to confusion as well as frustration. I would suggest to watch a few different teachers and once you find one that you understand whose lessons make a lot of sense to you, stick to their instruction. You may choose one to two teachers who you can follow their instruction and many will also have video product for sale that might be helpful to add to your understanding and your enjoyment of the game. Understanding is the first step toward success.
8. Small chipping targets
When you have that big driving range or that big golf course right in front of you, it can often seem more fun to get right to big swings and big clubs. With some of us having limited space available, this can be a great opportunity to practice those smaller chips and pitches that may only carry three to 10 yards depending upon your area. You can order great little pitching baskets to use or if you don’t have these, you could use pillows, or towels. You can also order small whiffle balls or foam practice balls if your space is limited.
One suggestion I would give you to help to make these smaller motions is to remember you can always grip lower on the handle of the club, which makes the lever shorter and, therefore, delivers less power. You should narrow your stance as well. Narrowing your stance will limit your flexibility and also help you to make the smaller swing or stroke needed for these smaller distances.
9. Try some new technology
There is so much great technology out there relative to golf it can be overwhelming and yet so very interesting. The advancement in these technologies can help you to improve your games. Two of my favorites are Golflogix app (Golf and GOLF.com are operated by the same holding company, 8AM Golf.) and Arccos smart grip technology, which can help you discover if there’s a distance gap in your clubs, and you may need to add another to your bag.
There are lots of great products out there, now is your time to experiment!
10. Do a golf club inventory
As I sit in my house looking at this beautiful new set of Ping clubs, I can’t wait to get back out there on the golf course and use them.
Assuming that you have an idea of what fits you, now can be a good time to do an inventory of your clubs in your bag and see what is helping you to be the best golfer you can be, and also consider what parts of your bag could use an upgrade. A new driver or a new longer fairway wood can really pay off in increased distance and, hopefully, consistency.
It also gives you an opportunity to clean out your golf bag. Scary to find out what we have put into our bags and forgotten. This clean out process may also lead to the purchase of a new bag so you’re nice and refreshed when you do hit the course again.
Keep busy. Stay safe and I can’t wait to see you all back on the course.
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