Certainly, you’ve seen houses with backyard putting greens or indoor golf simulators fitted in the basement? It might not even take these golf installations to make one wonder what they can do to improve their golf game from home. Few sports can be as beneficial for you as golf. The chance to get some fresh air, walk a few thousand steps and the mechanics of swinging the club are all low-impact ways to significantly increase your health. Additionally, the professional benefits of having a solid golf game, from networking to taking a business contact out for a round, are hard to understate.
No matter why you are looking to improve your game, these at home golf tips will see strokes falling off next time you’re out playing a round of 18.
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Study the Greats
A picture may say a thousand words, but a video clip shows even more. Look at the world’s best golfers while they play. How do they swing? How do they follow through? What are their elbows, knees, or shoulders doing? For the short game, how do they approach different lays on a ball on the green? All of these can be valuable tips; even if you don’t immediately recognize what they are doing, try it next time you are on the golf course. There’s a pretty good chance that you will see something from the new perspective!
Target Key Muscles
Golf can be a great way to keep in shape, but one of the ways to get the most out of the game is to make sure that you’re in pretty good shape yourself. To find out what needs addressing, look at your latest round. Were you out of breath from walking around the course? In that case, you may want to add a short afternoon or evening walk, perhaps even augmented by one in the morning, too. This will help you build the cardiovascular endurance you need to play your best.
Do you notice tightness when you swing? Then consider more stretching or yoga, both before hitting the course and every day. Be sure to hold the pose for several seconds; jerky movements only add the potential to cause injury.
Finally, remember that muscle creates the force that lets you hit the ball further. Toning up all over will add yards to your drives; sadly, just doing a few bicep curls and bench press sets is not going to be enough. Instead, focus on building a lean physique, the type that professional golfers themselves possess.
They say that golf is a mental game, and they are not kidding! While we don’t advocate trying to mess with the other players in your foursome (while we have certainly been the targets of those who do), instead we think that some of the best improvements to your game can come off the course.
If watching the greats is one thing, reading about them, and their techniques, is another, and both are great for your game. From learning new grips to how to read a green, golf books, blogs, and other sources provide a great way to learn from the experience of others.
How many times have you been having a great round, then only to lose it after a disaster of a hole on the back nine? By practicing mindfulness, you will be able to put those shortcomings behind you. Stewing over that triple bogey on the tenth hole is not going to help you out on the next eight. Neither is taking high-risk moves to pick up a birdie. Instead, focus on each hole, one at a time, and each shot, one at a time.
Focus on Your Short Game
Just like free throws for basketball players, your short game, defined as either putting or chipping, is going to be where you win or lose matches. While it may seem very easy to do, often these are among the most stressful shots that players take. Remember, par calculations allow two shots once a player reaches the green. While you continue to develop your long game, you can shave that two-shot green average down to one and a half, and you have subtracted nearly ten strokes from your game.
Chip shots, or those shots that are designed to put a ball less than 10 yards from the green onto the green, can be some of the most fun shots that you can practice. Best of all, they are easy enough to practice in your backyard. Just remember not to follow all the way through; your neighbors won’t appreciate it if you do!
Movies love to portray executives as having putting greens set up in their offices, and they are often used as a point of great stress. There’s a reason why; there’s nothing worse than not being able to sink a putt from three feet away! Practice will make perfect with these. Working on putting and ultimately increasing your putting confidence out to four or five feet will shave significant numbers of strokes off your game.
Hit Balls into a Net
If you can’t make it to the driving range, simply hitting balls into a practice net will be helpful. However, you should take certain measures to make this more productive. First, consider using a weighted club; just like a baseball player who warms up to bat with weights (or, in some Little League movies, two or three bats at a time!), this will make your movements more fluid.
Also, be mindful of where your body is at with each stage of the swing. Notice if there is anything you can do to tighten or loosen certain aspects of your swing. Doing so will make your time at the net much more productive.
Try a Golf Simulator
For those who really want to get the most out of their practice time, an indoor golf simulator may be a tool worth obtaining. These often couple with a net, providing you with a virtual driving range. These golf simulators use sensors in either the club or the ball, or both, to provide analysis on where your shot would have landed, how far it would have gone, and if it would have hooked or shanked.
Still others, like the TruGolf Home Swing Studio, are more like a video game, letting you ‘play’ on top courses while offering immediate feedback on your swing. Believe it or not, an affordable golf simulator can be a great way to add significant fun to your game while cutting back on the total number of strokes each time you head to the course.
It’s All About Consistency
No matter what technique you choose to focus on, what will make the biggest difference of all is consistent and focused practice. Applying focused practice, whether studying professionals, using an indoor golf simulator, or using any of the other techniques above, will make your game significantly better than someone who spends hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the range with a professional coach. Also, such practice will only increase your joy of the game, making golf even more enjoyable. So, go practice!
Richard Overmyer is a copywriter and outreach specialist for TruGolf, maker of indoor golf simulators. Richard enjoys golfing, finding new ways to improve his game, and sharing his love and knowledge to helping others discover their own love of the game. When not on the course, he can be found skiing, hiking, and doing almost anything that gets him outside.