If you’re in the northern parts of the world, you might have noticed that it’s pretty cold right now. Cold enough that it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to golf <makes sad face>. Never fear, dear reader, because I’ll show you how to practice golf indoors, even when there’s snow on the ground.
Ideally, the best way to do any sort of indoor practice is to swing a golf club. If the significant other frowns on this, there are other things you can do- even without swinging a club.
Exercise- NOT a Four-Letter Word
The first and foremost thing you should work on is flexibility. It’s easy in the winter months to not do so much, with golf falling down on the priority list. You’d be surprised how much your swing’s range of motion can become limited when you don’t focus on it when you aren’t swinging a club. I know I was.
The easiest drill is to just sit down on a chair and turn your shoulders 90 degrees in both directions. Keep the lower body still. A good golf swing depends on the ability to turn your shoulders both back and through, so keeping up on this through the down months should be a must.
Anything that will also stretch the hamstrings, lats and shoulders should also be considered. Maybe take up yoga! Don’t laugh… it’s a very real method to develop a better golf swing.
If you have a full-length mirror, you can stand in front of it and pretend to swing a golf club. Don’t just look at the mirror face-on; you can also get a “down the line” look at your swing. You can see clearly how far you can turn your shoulders, or if your hips are turning too much with the shoulders, or if you have a severe bend in your lead elbow. Knowing where any “leaks” are can go a long way to starting you on the path to correcting them!
Another good one is something I got from Michael Breed on The Golf Fix. You set a ball on floor, as if you’re going to hit it with a club. Instead of holding the club normally, set it across your shoulders. Make your backswing; does the club point behind the ball? It should. It’s almost like the mirror drill, but with a little more feedback.
Find Out What Impact Looks and Feels Like
Another indoor drill would be to take your clubs and a flat object and set up in your impact position. If you can swing it (get it?) make a pretend downswing and stop at the object. Speaking of the object, it could be something like a book or shoe box. Something with a flat surface, so you can set the face square when you get to your impact position.
It’s a very powerful feel. It’s incredibly helpful if you slice or hook, because having something there that shows you if you’re leaving the face open or closed too much at impact can go a long way to ensuring you’re in the proper position when it matters on the course.
When In Doubt, Work On Putting
At least half of all your shots on the course are putts, so why not work on that? Even better, the significant other may be more inclined to let you putt around on the carpet than possibly take a chunk out of the carpet with a 6 iron. Obviously, the speed of your carpet may not match that of your local course (or maybe it does…), so we should focus on the things we can control.
The Gate Drill:
The Gate Drill is a favorite of mine. It’s so simple! A normal putter head, depending on the model, is no more than 4″ wide. To do this drill, all you have to do is find two objects and put them close together. It could be two books/magazines, or alignment rods/driveway markers, or two of your golf clubs. You really don’t want big objects, because the putter head has to be able to pass through easily. If you’re using clubs, you’d want the butt ends of the grips to be used as the “gate”.
So let’s use a couple of books. Set the books down with the spines about 6 inches apart. If your putter’s 4″ wide, that leaves an inch on each side. Now, all you have to do is putt a ball without hitting one of the sides of the “gate”. Don’t worry about the speed, just worry about getting the head through the gate. When this becomes easy, narrow the width to 5 inches. The max setting would be with each sides of the “gate” to be just a hair’s breadth away from touching the putter.
The Two-Ball Drill:
No, I’m not talking about the famous putter model. This drill involves you, your putter and two golf balls. Set the balls down dimple-to-dimple and set your putterface behind them both. Make your normal putting stroke. Where do the balls go? Ideally, they should both go forward; that means your face was square at impact. If the inside ball goes farther, your face was open, because the heel hit the ball first. If the toe-side ball goes farther, your face was closed.
The weather outside may be frightful, but don’t let that be an excuse to allow your game to do the same. Outside of the putting, it may not be as awesome as hitting the links on a nice summer day. Don’t let that stop you, though, because the work we put in now will pay huge dividends when the weather does get nicer. Remember, though, that practicing golf indoors may not be exactly the same as playing golf for real… but when you see a little more distance on your shots, more putts sink and a lower score on your card you’ll realize it was all worth it.