How to practice golf when you don’t have enough time

Had a great phone conversation with a regular client today. We covered all sorts of golfy stuff but the most important thing we spoke about was practise.

In particular we spoke at length about finding way to practice golf when you don’t have much time. Mostly because,

  • You’re flat out at work
  • You’re busy with family
  • You don’t live near the course or driving range
  • You can’t be bothered (this is me)

It got me thinking and I realised that I have lots of little ways of getting in some practice. Some of them are a bit funky and not like real practice at all – mostly because you can do them from home. But they work and will help get your game in shape.

I should add here that the key to improving your golf game is to keep at it. Every little bit helps and even a few minutes a couple of times a week adds up. Here’s a pretty good list of things you can do to maximise your practice time, even if you’re busy.

  • Putting on the carpet at home – a simple one but it only takes a few minutes and it often beats watching TV. My recommendation here is to practice your routine (getting set) and pulling the trigger. I’d also work on the shorter ones. This has sparked my interest and I’ve now got my putter sitting in the office – I can now take a few putts each hour or so. Just think about how many practice putts I can take each month? (as long as I keep it up).

  • Chipping in the backyard. I’ve been doing this for a while now and it really is important. I’ve been saying for ages now that chipping is consistently the worse skill in amateur golfers – seriously, almost every golfer I see has a horrendous chipping style. If you can work on a basic chip shot in the backyard I know you’ll see some improvement in your score.

  • Swinging the club at home. Yep, if you can’t get to the course to hit some balls then what’s stopping you from swinging for a few minutes? At the very least you’ll get some fresh air and clear your head. But most likely you’ll keep your body in shape and hone your swing that little bit further. I have done lots of this in my time. When I was younger I would make swing after swing in my parent’s garage and think it definitely helped me. The best thing about swinging without a ball is you’re not being distracted by the ball flight. Your focus can be 100% on the golf swing. It’s actually a good little exercise to see if you can keep your attention on the swing.

  • “Clip the tee”. I first head Harvey Penick term this phrase and it’s a great drill for improving your driver swing. Place a tee into the grass and see if you can swing at full pace and clip the top of the tee. It’s way harder than it seems but if you stick with it you’ll master it. You’ll then be surprised when your on course driving is magically better. It’s not hard to do and it only takes a few minutes to get some meaningful results.

  • The Shuggy Training Aid. One day I might come up with a better name but it’s a great product. It has been designed to take the “clip the tee” drill to the next level. It’s absolutely perfect for swinging at home. If you make a bad swing you’ll hit Shuggy (ouch). But with practice comes mastery. And mastery means you’ll be far more consistent with your driver swing. I need to relaunch this product soon but if you’re interested please contact me.

  • The local park. Late last year I discovered Almost Golf Balls. These things are brilliant for practice at home and the local park. If you’ve got a park or field nearby then these balls are ideal. You can swing away, improve your hitting performance, and not be scared of breaking windows, cars or the children playing.

  • The sand pit. I learned to play bunker shots by spending hours in the local school’s long jump pit. Most schools and parks have a sand pit, so if you get the chance I recommend you spend some time working on your bunker play. Once you get the mechanics right, sand shots are fairly easy. Almost Golf Balls works really well from sand too.

  • Walk with a ball. This hasn’t really got much to do with golf practice but I reckon it’s important. If I’m ever frustrated, tired or need some space, I’ll go for a walk with a tennis ball. All I do is bounce the ball while I’m walking. This is enough to distract me and clear my head. I find this particularly useful before and/or after golf. There’s also a hidden lesson in here, walking and bouncing the ball is the same strategy that I apply to my automatic golf process.

The thing is that almost any golf practice is going to be a good thing. If your golf is not going in the right direction, then maybe it’s time to step it up a little and try some of the things I suggest above.  The other point is that you don’t need lots of time and world class practice facility to have a great session. Some imagination and enthusiasm is often enough.

Feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas below.

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