If you cannot wait for the lockdown to end and want to hit the ground running when golf reopens, it's good to do a little bit of structured practise at home.
This article will give you some ideas for putting and chipping, inside and outside, which you can try, and then take away and progress and make your own.
Putting Drill #1: Distance control
- Place a coin on the ground about a meter (three feet ish) from the wall or skirting board.
- Hit five putts which finish between the marker and the skirting board.
- Start again if any balls finish short of the coin (which is the hole).
- Move the coin closer to the skirting board once you make five out of five.
- Once you're within a foot of the skirting board, you can increase the number of putts you need to make in a row.
This drill will concentrate your mind in getting the ball to the hole with no more than a 'gimme' on the way back should you miss.
Putting Drill #2: Improve the strike
- Stack three £1 coins on top of each other.
- Try to strike the top coin off the top of the stack.
- This is tricky but see how many you can get out of ten.
This drill will develop a consistent strike on your golf ball to get it rolling quicker, which increases distance control and accuracy.
Putting Drill #3: Consistent takeaway or backswing
- Place a pen or sharpie behind the ball, about six inches.
- Take the putter away without hitting the pen.
This drill will create a repeatable putting stroke for more consistency.
Putting Drill #4: Perfect alignment
- Place two alignment sticks on the ground just outside your toe line and putter head.
- Hit a series of practise putts making sure the putter head is delivered perfectly square.
- Progress by removing one of the sticks, hitting the putts again.
- Finally, remove the remaining alignment stick and hit the series of putts again -starting again if you miss the target (edge of the dor or a chair leg).
Poor alignment is one of the most common mistakes amateur golfers make. Being just a few degrees out can mean a straight putt misses from as little as 6 feet. Repeating this drill will train your eye and body to recognise when you're not aligned correctly, so you can step away and go again.
Putting Drill #5: Playing card illusion
Place a playing card in a portrait position on the floor.
Hit putts which travel over the narrow entrance of the card.
You can set yourself goals for consecutive putts made.
Try laying out putts in a circle around you too.
The shorter edge of the playing card is narrower than a golf hole, giving the illusion of the real hole appearing bigger and giving you more confidence when stood overpressure putts.
Putting Drill #6: Perfect strike
- Wrap some elastic bands around the heel and toe of your putter.
- You'll immediately feel if you've not hit the ball out of the centre of the face.
- Once you're consistently finding the middle, move the bands in, making your margin for error tighter and tighter.
Finding the middle of the putter face more will give you more control over distance and starting line - leading to more consistent results.
Putting Drill #6: Starting line
- Make two coin stacks coins to form a gateway for your ball to travel through, about a foot in front of your putter.
- Hit putts concentrating on passing through the narrow gap without brushing the coins.
- Once you've done ten in a row, narrow the gap, and start again.
- Progress until the golf ball barely passes through the gap.
- You can move the stacks further away to make it harder too.
Making sure you putt starts on the intended line is the most important part of putting. Getting this right will lead to more holed putts out on the course.
Chipping Drill #1: Ball first
- Place your golf towel flat and directly behind your wedge when in the chipping position.
- Take practise strokes, making sure not to hit the towel before the carpet.
This drill will help you develop the correct strike and give you the basics of a better short game.
Chipping Drill #2: Chipping intervals
Having a series of 'stock' swings for specific yardages around the green will take any guesswork out of how hard you need to hit the ball.
- Put some pillows (something which will dampen the bounce) at intervals of about five yards.
- Practise chipping ball onto the pillows.
- Assign each cushion or pillow a suit and use a shuffled pack of cards to generate your target randomly.
- Increase the number of consecutive successful attempts as you progress.
Chipping Drill #3: Pitch and run
- Prop up a cushion to act as a protective barrier as well as a target.
- Use different clubs to chip balls into the pillow to see how the ratio of carry to roll differs from 7-iron to 3-wood.
Having a variety of options around the green, especially when you do not have anything to fly the ball over, will increase your chances of getting up and down.
Chipping Drill #4: Quiet wrists
- Use an alignment stick under your grip to extend the length of your wedge.
- The additional length will emphasise any wrist movement in play during your chipping action.
Removing as many moving parts as possible from your chipping action is going to produce better results. Watch Jason Day in the video below to see how he does it.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on the essential parts of your game while stuck at home.
If you want to have some fun at home, we also have a video with some golf games the whole family can play. You can check that out here.
Article published during UK national lockdown, Jan 2021.
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