While at home, it is important to keep your golf game up to par! Focus on the things that you CAN work on while indoors.
PUTTING — The purpose of focusing on putting indoors is to get your putter face alignment, routine, and eye position correct. No matter what type of greens you play on, these three elements ALWAYS stay constant.
Being indoors, you won’t want to try and practice speed control or making putts. Instead, you need to practice the things that lead to good speed control and made putts. Therefore, it is NOT necessary to have a fancy indoor putting green. See the exercises below to work on these elements at home!
Putter Face Alignment – One exercise I practice uses a metal yardstick placed on the floor with a ball placed on the 7″ line. The yardstick helps me see and feel that my putter is square and that my set up or stance is also square to my putter.
My goal is to hit a putt, see the number 7 which was covered up by the ball appear, and make the ball go straight down the rest of the yardstick. This drill covers a lot of putting fundamentals quickly and efficiently. I build this simple set up right up against a wall in my house, so I don’t have to chase golf balls around.
Routine – Developing a good putting routine is mostly personal but remember to keep that head still! I once heard Gary Player say that keeping the head still seems simple but is the hardest thing to do under pressure!
Eye Position – By “eye position,” I mean the relationship between the ball and your non-dominant eye. If you don’t understand this concept, I suggest googling this as well. In order to get the eye position correct (or at least in a consistent position), I use a Putting Mirror, or an old CD upside-down works too.
If you want more feedback, a popular tool is called the EyeLine Golf Putting Alignment Mirror. Rickie Fowler and several other tour pros use this application. At the Cool Springs Golf Shop, we carry several putting and full-swing training aids that can help you practice at home.
CHIPPING — Our MAIN focus while chipping indoors is to hit our landing spot with different trajectories and develop a solid routine.
Once again, these two elements are going to be constant regardless of what golf course you are playing, or what situation you are in.
Hitting the Landing Spot with Different Trajectories – You can do this inside or outside in your own yard. Pro Tip: Ping Pong balls make great indoor practice. All you need to practice this is a few different chipping clubs and a target, any type of target. I happen to like an umbrella target; yes, an umbrella inside! Good thing I’m not superstitious!
Get a pile of balls, and chip with different clubs to the same target. When my son and I do this drill out in our yard, we make a game of it, kind of like chipping corn hole. Another game you can play is something I like to call “Golf, Around the House”. I let my son place the umbrella anywhere on our property he wants and pick out the starting position aka, “the tee box”. Whoever gets the ball in the umbrella in the least number of strokes gets a point and gets to draw up the next hole. You can also do this in the house using ping pong balls.
Chipping Routine – As with the putting routine, everyone has a different chipping routine. Just make sure it’s repeatable, and you center your routine around your landing spot and trajectory! My routine involves taking some practice strokes while looking at ONLY my landing spot, envisioning the trajectory, feeling the grass thickness, making slight adjustments, etc. The ball must hit a landing area on the way to the hole so that’s the last thing I focus on, the landing area, which is the size of an umbrella!
THE FUNDAMENTALS — I like to talk about fundamentals because they truly are one of the most important parts of a golf game. I define fundamentals as your grip, posture, set-up/stance, alignment, and ball position.
Use a Mirror – Your mirror should be set up somewhere in your house where you’ve got about 10 or 15 feet of open space. If you don’t have a mirror, you may also be able to see your reflection in your windows or sliding glass door from inside your house. You don’t need to be able to swing the club, you just need a space where you can check your setup. If you do happen to have a net to hit into, it would be advantageous to place the mirror in the same area as your net.
Practicing Posture – Even during the season, using a mirror is a great way to make sure that your posture is in a good position. The method for doing this isn’t difficult. If you want a picture of what a proper setup is, please refer to Ben Hogan’s Five Fundamentals pages 24 & 36, or check out YouTube videos of Professional Golfers like Jason Dufner, Adam Scott, Jason Day, etc.
Once you’ve seen what a proper setup looks like face-on AND down the line, just repeat it! Modeling/imitation is a great way to develop a proper setup.
Practicing the takeaway – Although I wouldn’t recommend checking too many positions of your swing in the mirror (because when you look at the mirror, your whole body moves), the takeaway is something that might be worth looking at. Just make sure that when you look back to check your takeaway, you don’t move your whole body while doing so.
READ SOME GOLF BOOKS — Since reading doesn’t require any favorable conditions, it is a great way to improve your golf game during the off-season or a pandemic! Of course, you can’t solely rely on reading, but by learning new things about the game, you will develop new strategies that can be implemented when the time is right!
I hope these tips will help you to maintain and improve your golf game at home. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have or if you want to share a tip or two you use to stay golf ready during these times away from the course!
Jeff Ellis, PGA Professional – Cool Springs