Ten of the Best: Practice drills at home

You don’t have to go to the course to get better at this game…


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It can be tough motivating yourself to head to the range and work on your swing now we're entering autumn.

And if you don't live close enough to an Urban Golf, there are plenty of simple indoor golf drills that you can perform in the comfort of your living room or during that office break to keep your game sharp.

While it's tricky to practice driving the ball unless you have the luxury of a 300-yard long garden, you can at least focus on fine-tuning your swing, mastering your short game and installing confidence with the blade.

Here are ten of our favourite practice drills...

1. Driving net

The perfect way to practice the swing in the freedom of your own garden. Always seek permission from the bill payer first and ensure the net is placed within a few yards of where you are striking the ball. You don't want to be asking Mrs Smith dpwn the street down for your Pro V1 back...

Depending on what sort of turf you have in the garden, it's best to put some carpet down to ensure you leave some grass in place. Most good nets will cost around £40. Although you can't see where the ball goes - like you do on the range and on the course - you can certainly gauge feel and sound of impact.

2. Chipping net

While chipping is all about gauging distance, feel and knowing where to land the ball on the green, the chipping net drill is perfect target practice and can become rather addictive. Why not get the whole family involved?

3. Lounge putting

Improving your putting makes it much easier to reach your scoring objectives in golf. Either buy yourself a imitation putting surface - usually with a raised hole and several bunkers for effect - and lay it onto a hard surface like the kitchen, or just putt away on the carpet aiming towards a chair leg or cup.

While the carpet runs pretty slow on the stimp, putting in the living room can be particularly useful to gain feel and confidence, especially if you're trying out a new putter. Another good putting drill for alignment is to putt along the skirting boards or the line of a rug to ensure you're taking the club straight back and through.

4. Impact

Using a giant workout ball to get a feel for what impact should feel like. Place the ball at hip height and take your set up. Try and feel like you're driving your hips into the ball and are compressing the ball into the wall. Don't let the upper body lean into the ball, just try and compress it into the wall with the lateral driving motion of your hips.

5. Chipping balls in the landing

Unlike the chipping net, this is a much better drill to gauge distance. My own drill involves chipping from the hallway onto the small rug in my bedroom.

6. Spine angle

This one is slightly more hi-tech but all you need is a chair, wet flannel/sponge and a golf club. Many of us fail to maintain our spine angle in the swing and this drill aims to counter that.If you rotate your shoulders properly - with a club placed across your chest - you will see the shaft stays on the same angle going back and through.

The angle of the shoulders working around a fixed spine is evidenced by the fact you can see the shaft. If you take a proper backswing and set up next to the chair, with the flannel/sponge underneath the left foot, and then turn back with the body and sway, you will end up pushing the chair slightly which is not ideal.

But if you rotate properly, pushing out some of the water with the left foot, you will notice the right hip moves away from the chair just slightly. In this position, the spine angle will be in the proper position, the left shoulder will be low and the head will stay still.

7. Legwork

All you need for this drill is a size 5 or size 3 football, depending on your build and size. Keep your legs in the proper set-up position and keep weight on the inside. If you don't get the legs working together and end up swaying - when weight gets outside the right leg - the ball will drop. So if you can keep the ball inside your knees, you will encourage good dynamics and stability by holding the right leg steady into the downswing. The ball will, of course, drop out when you begin the downswing.

8. Keepy-up with wedge

While this won't ultimately help lower your scores, it does promote good hand-eye co-ordination which are important to a good golf swing.

Watch golf professional Romain Bech's magical golf juggling skills. He's obviously put in a few hours here or there at home.

9. Copy pro swings on television

Watching golf on a Sunday night can be extremely frustrating given the amount of commercial breaks taken by broadcasters CBS and NBC. But to counter that, Sky Sports have provided a great addition to coverage in 2012 by acquiring Denis Pugh and Simon Holmes to take a closer look at the swings of those in action.

Why not get up off the sofa and join in with Pugh and Holmes to emulate what the leading lights are doing?

10. Read instruction books

Of course, it doesn't all have to be physical. After a long, tiring day at the office, why not kick back and relax with a golfing manual? There are plenty of very good coaching books out there, just find the one that suits your game and understanding the most. I am currently reading Dave Pelz's Short Game and Putting Bibles (right) after meeting the great man at The Grove recently.

First published October 2012. Updated September 2013.

Which golf drills do you practice at home and why?

Share your thoughts in the forum below, on Twitter @Golfmagic and on our Facebook page.

Or if you want some more drills check out our latest golf practice drills instructional series

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Very useful until item number six. Hate to be a "wet flannel" but if you are going to be technical please be accurate. Is it a wet flannel or is it a sponge and do I really want water squirting out on the floor. Where is the chair and is it the back of the chair towards me. Having and maintaining a good spine angle is such an important contributor to swing plane and to a swing's muscle memory that it may be worth repeating this exercise in the next issue of the newsletter. Best bit of advice that I have had to improve spine angle is to look at the ball as if through the lower half of a pair of glasses - it just tilts the neck up enough to encourage a straight spine.

Posted: 02/11/2012 at 11:56

Yes back of the chair is resting against the right side of your body. Sponge works just as well.

Posted: 03/11/2012 at 12:30


I already practice putting on the living room carpet, which has a nice pace. I may well use some of the practice drills suggested.

. . . but Andy - if I wear a baseball hat in the house while I'm doing it, the wife will kill me.

Posted: 03/11/2012 at 17:18

Alex has already rinsed me for that one! Did you not realise I'm sponsored by adidas?

Hope you have fun practising these drills. Chipping in the landing is pretty fun, but on the off chance a Pro V1x should trickle down the stairs, mum usually brings the game to an immediate end.

Posted: 12/11/2012 at 18:47

i used to try and chip off an old bit of carpet onto the settee.

bit hard now ive got laminate flooring.

and trying to putt on that is a bloody nightmare.

Posted: 12/11/2012 at 20:41

These are some great tips. I am definitely going to try them out. hardest part of golf is consistent practice. Its difficult to get to the range. I'm not a fan of golf nets. I use practice balls and recently picked up a Ropeit. Its a nifty device thats a golf ball on a rope. http://www.theropeit.com for those interested. I really like what you said about copying pro swings. I've never had a lesson but I do watch and mimic golf swings. Mainly Tiger's. His swing is so pure.

Posted: 11/11/2014 at 02:37

Why do you not like nets?  



Posted: 11/11/2014 at 07:16

I often practice swinging in my back garden using the windows as a mirror. Useful warm up before a round of golf if nothing else. Golf is a difficult game to self-diagnose because angles can be very deceptive, plus the difference between swinging upright or flat can be fractions - Hey ho.

Posted: 29/12/2014 at 09:16


Which is the worst major meltdown?
Jean Van de Velde - 1999 Open (73%)
Rory McIlroy - 2011 Masters (5%)
Adam Scott - 2012 Open (0%)
Jordan Spieth - 2016 Masters (11%)
Greg Norman - 1996 Masters (11%)
Arnold Palmer - 1966 US Open (0%)
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