If you want to practice golf at home, digging out that archaic game of Potty Putter isn’t going to do you any favors.
You can practice golf at home without going crazy. You’re going to have to get your 10,000 hours in somehow, right?
It can’t all be spent on the golf course.
There’s a cheap DIY way to get it done, a place that you can practice as often as you’d like. We’re going to show you how to get that done, and include some tips on practicing at home on a constant basis to improve your game.
- 1 Can You Practice Golf at Home?
- 2 How to Practice Putting at Home?
- 3 How to Practice Golf Swing at Home?
- 4 What Are Golf Simulators?
- 5 Are They Worth It?
- 6 DIY At-Home Golf Shooter
- 7 Practice Makes Perfect
Can You Practice Golf at Home?
Yes, you absolutely can. There are three main ways to do it, each of which will help you with different areas of your golf game.
We’re going to go over a method for putting, hitting a driver, and using a golf simulator to help you with a little bit of everything.
Practicing golf at home is pretty simple, and allows you to start before you ever get out onto an actual golf course.
There’s an intimidation factor when you’re brand new at a sport, and you surround yourself with other people who have decades of experience, knowing that they will judge you to some extent in their own heads.
That’s nerve-wracking. I wouldn’t want to do that either. I learned how to play golf from my dad, and because he had two days off in the middle of the week, we would go to a rural course in the middle of the day during summers.
That was a good environment to learn, and I did pretty well.
However, you can learn at home before putting yourself into a situation where you would feel inferior, or at the very least, like you didn’t belong.
Using either a golf simulator, which we’ll get into in a minute or a home driving range or putter practice, you can start for cheap.
If you’re using real clubs, you can get a driver and the materials that we’ll list later and not have to worry about all that other golf gear just yet. In fact, it’s a good way to introduce yourself to the sport to see if you like the feel of it.
The only thing you have to remember is that practicing at home and practicing on a range is different. The goal is the same, but the application and journey are entirely different.
I think that if you’ve just getting started and want to try playing indoors at first, you owe it to yourself to play at least one round on a regular golf course before deciding if it is or isn’t for you.
How to Practice Putting at Home?
Putting at home isn’t easy. It’s difficult to simulate the feel of a real golf course when you’re in your living room.
There’s no real sense of consequence either since it’s not like you’re on the back nine and you’ve been in the sun for four hours, inching closer to victory.
I will say that it’s good practice but doesn’t feel the same as putting on the green. That being said, here are some at-home drills to gradually improve your putting game.
#1 Tee Time
This exercise is one of my favorites. Put a tee upside-down so that the point is sticking straight up, and then gently tap the ball so that it goes straight towards it.
The goal is to knock the tee over from about three feet away, and gradually increase that distance over time.
Getting a straight shot isn’t easy, but it’s definitely a skill you need for precision putting in golf. Increase the distance, but also use a long level or something else to ensure that you’re shooting in a straight line.
#2 52 Putter Up
That’s the wittiest name I could come up with for this one. Every play 52 pick up when your friend dropped the deck because you won with a bluff two games in a row? Well, that’s about to come in handy.
Take that deck of cheap playing cards, and drop them on the floor in the middle of a wide space, like a living room.
Put your ball down about three to four feet away from the pile, and try to find either a Jack, queen or king card and put to it. It’s randomized every time, which keeps it fun.
#3 Golf Ball Alley
You’ve got a hallway, so it’s time to put it to good use. I’ve seen some putts from about thirty feet away, maybe a bit more, and there’s no better way to practice these than using your hallway like it’s a bowling alley.
You can set up a narrow glass at the end, or for a bit of a handicap, you can cut a two-liter bottle in half and use the bottom end as the golf ball hole. Either way, it helps you work on your longer putts.
#4 Statue Standing
When you have to use your putter, you need rigid, unmovable control if you’re going to get through it properly. For that, you need to practice your stance.
Feet wide, arms straight, back straight, and only bend when you go to actually sink the ball in the hole.
In this instance, you’re going to stand with your putter in your hands and pretend that you’re swinging to sink the ball. No ball, no cup, just stance, and club practice.
This is tedious, but it’s a surefire way to help you out in those tense moments of putting.
#5 Book Zone
Grab some of those dusty books off the shelf, and line them up. Make two lines of books, being one path, and have it go towards the hole (or tipped over the cup, or whatever you’re using at the hole).
The idea of this is that if you touch the sides, you might as well lose.
In a real game of golf, this misalignment in your shot would ruin everything. Practice sinking the ball from 8-12 feet away without hitting the sides.
How to Practice Golf Swing at Home?
Your swing is always something you’ll be critiquing, and that’s okay.
Some say you’re your own worst critic, I say that you are your own best aid. Analyzing what you do doesn’t have to be negative, and if you want to improve at anything, you have to analyze yourself a lot.
Now, there are four main ways to improve your golf swing without ever having to leave your house. Consider them each one of many building blocks that all combine to make up your golf skill.
They’re not as good as kinesthetic learning (hands-on golfing at the course), but they help nonetheless.
#1 Watch Golf
You probably already do, but now, you’re going to look at everything through a different lens. Once you start getting ready to improve your golf game, that’s when you need to analyze what other players are doing as well.
Don’t watch the ball – watch the golfer, how they prepare, how they react, and work off of that. You’re already watching golf, but now, you’re trying to be a visual learner at the same time.
#2 Work on Your Posture
This is easier said than done, but it’s necessary if you want to have a more powerful, focused swing.
Standing straight is required when you use the driver and send that ball flying, but if you’re out of shape or your body’s alignment is off (most commonly due to excess weight in the belly), your center of gravity is thrown off, and then standing with a hunched-over back feels normal even though it shouldn’t.
#3 Strengthen Your Core
Similar to working on your posture, strengthening your core comes into play when you’re in the swinging motion.
If you possess good core strength, which comes with an aligned center of gravity, you won’t have to strain and focus as much to hold in your midsection during your swing.
Apart from that, strengthening your core means shedding pounds, which can remove a common problem where your depth perception of the club’s distance from your body is off.
#4 Golf Simulator
It’s an investment, but a worthy one.
Golf simulators aren’t a computer game – they’re sensors placed around your living room that hook up to your television, and a sensor on your golf club that analyzes your swing, much like the sensor I covered in my post about cool golf gadgets.
This is perfect for rainy days, and since you’re actually going through the motion of swinging your club, it’s as close to doing the real thing as possible.
What Are Golf Simulators?
Golf simulators use a blend of sensors to understand your relative position, and then display that accurately in a simulation on your television, or on a projector through its mount.
The sensors put you into this video game-like world where you’re golfing.
These also come with swing analyzers for your club to feed data to the simulator and score you based on your posture, your swing, and everything in between.
It’s like having a full breakdown and analysis of how well or how poorly you play golf.
Most simulators come with on-the-go stat analytics, so if you just played a few virtual holes before you head out to a doctor’s appointment, you can check on the stats and suggestions right from your smartphone or tablet.
So it’s an analytics device, but it’s also a way for you to technically play golf on rainy days or if you just can’t make it to the course (or you just don’t feel like leaving the house that day).
The magic is in the sensors, which I’ll admit, they can be a pain to set up.
For most golf simulators, like my personal favorite, the Rapsodo R-Motion Simulator, you hook it up to your PC or smartphone before you start playing it.
Project it onto your wall or run it from there to your television, solely run it on your smartphone if you wish (not recommended due to size), whichever way you want to do it.
Golf simulators are the most invasive way you can learn to increase your golf game at home without having a private course. It’s not exactly easy when you love doing something and there are obstacles in your way every single day.
Some of us are on a strict schedule, so a golf simulator might be worth it just so you can get 15-20 minutes in before work or before bed, and do something you love every single day.
Are They Worth It?
If you genuinely enjoy playing golf all the time, then yes, they’re completely worth it.
For a decent simulator, you’re paying less than most people pay for a new game console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
If you only use your simulator once a month or so, then no, I would argue that it’s not worth it.
Some of us don’t have the capital to spend on monthly course memberships, and free or cheap courses might be too far away to justify the time spent and the cost of travel.
Since golf simulators have come a very long way since their inception, they’re high quality and are prone to very little errors. It’s not the same thing as golfing on the green, but it’s a load of fun and you don’t have to actually walk from hole to hole.
It’s a compressed form of golfing where you get to do more actual playing than walking or commuting to get there, but again, it’s an entirely different feeling.
DIY At-Home Golf Shooter
If a simulator doesn’t work well for you, that’s okay.
It can get a bit disoriented at times, so instead, you can conjure up a DIY golf shooter for working on that drive.
For safety purposes, I recommend wearing protective eyewear, and not doing this in your living room or anywhere you have a television. Those are just precautions since we’re all prone to making errors.
This is simple since a lot of the work is done for you through online items that you can purchase. First thing’s first: you need a golf net.
Golf nets are designed just like batting cages – and isolated echo chamber to practice. The thing is, there’s usually no netting that will surround that area that you’re swinging, just the back net where the ball should go.
That’s why I recommend doing this in a garage or somewhere similar.
The next thing you’ll need is felt. You should get a sheet of it that’s as wide as the width of the golf net so you aren’t making extra work for yourself. This is designed to be rolled up when you’re done with it, so you can stow it away without worry.
Now, even with the weight of the golf net weighing it down from about five feet away, you still need to give proper traction to the felt. It’s slippery.
Get some rubber strips (usually 1” x 36” long, they can be cut) with an adhesive backing on one side. Place two strips for every one square foot of felt space.
We’re going overboard to prevent slipping, and keep everything in place. Make sure you place them adjacent to one another so it’s not a nightmare while rolling this up.
Last but not least, you need somewhere to actually put your ball. The tee isn’t going to stick up out of felt like it would in the grass. Take the cap off a two-liter bottle or something similar, and have it upside-down.
Drill a thin hole in the bottom. Cut off the narrow end of the tee stake, and glue the remaining portion into the hole of the cap. It won’t tip over, and it’ll be about 1.75” off the ground (as if it were embedded in the grass).
Roll out the felt, put the net down, pop your tee into place, and you’re good to go. If you want, you can cut a circle in the felt so the makeshift tee has a place to rest.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect if you’re paying attention and putting in maximum effort.
If you’re willing to transform the dining room or half of your home office into an in-home golf range, then more power to you.
However you decide to practice golf, just know that it takes diligence and precision, which will always take time. Nobody walked into this world and were just instantly good at gold (well, Tiger, but we’ll talk about him another day).
If you’ve searched this article out and read it to the fullest, then I think we both know that you’re committed to improving your game. Go on, get to practicing.