With golfers forced to do most of their practicing from home, the demand of training aids and indoor equipment has skyrocketed. But, you don’t have to wait on backordered items to improve your game. Two of Golf Digest’s top state-ranked teachers have great drills you can do using items around the house.
In the videos below, Jason Guss from Michigan and Ashley Moss from Arizona will help you ditch your slice for good, start compressing your irons, master high pitch shots and get out of the bunker every time—all things you can do from home. You can make just as much progress from home as you can at the course. All it takes is some extra time, which many of us have at the moment. So grab a club and get to work!
Fix your slice
Most players hit a slice because they swing the club from out to in on the downswing. One way to stop cutting across the ball is to practice an exaggerated movement that works in the opposite direction. Try Jason Guss’ drill to improve your swing path and eliminate that pesky slice.
Set an ottoman a couple feet behind your ball and just outside your swing path. Moving at about quarter speed, take the club back to hip height and feel like the toe of your club almost brushes the ottoman. Then, go to the top of the swing and slowly bring the club down, trying to keep the clubhead as far away from the ottoman as you can.
Guss explains how this will create an exaggerated loop in your swing that will redirect the out-to-in motion that causes the slice. Make some practice swings, starting slowly and working your way up to half speed. Be sure to continue keeping your clubhead to the inside on the way down. If you’re getting close to the ottoman on the downswing, go back to slow motion.
With some time, you can reshape your swing and get rid of that slice for good.
Compress your irons
When it comes to iron play, distance and compression go hand-in-hand: If you want to increase your yardage, you have to learn how to compress your shots by controlling the low point of the swing. Follow along with Guss’ easy tip to help you flush your irons.
Start with a golf ball on the seam between your carpet and wood flooring (if not available, create a seam with a doormat, towel or anything similar). Set up with the seam in the middle of your stance, your lead foot on the carpet side and trail foot on the hardwood. Take your club back slowly, keeping your weight in your lead leg.
As you continue turning back, Guss says to feel your weight staying on the carpet side until you reach the top. From here, he says to feel yourself shift into that same side as you make your downswing. You don’t have to swing through impact to feel the effect.
Use this drill to rehearse a better weight transition and keep yourself from swaying off the ball and eventually hitting the ground behind it. Practice this drill, and you’ll learn to control the swing’s low point for better compression.
Master the high pitch
Whether it’s hitting over a greenside bunker or trying to land your ball on a tiered green, these high-pressure shots usually rely on feel that’s lost the minute your nerves set in. Top teacher Ashley Moss came up with an easy way to train your hands to add loft during these tense moments.
First, grab your wedge, and hold it grip-side-down. Make some swings. Feel how easy it is to move the club through the air without the weight of the clubhead, Moss says. After a few swings, turn the club around and swing normally. Your clubhead should feel very heavy, and Moss says you should be able to feel where the clubface is throughout the swing. She explains that this will make it easier to manipulate the loft on the face.
Next, practice the feeling of creating loft with your hands by swinging a ping-pong paddle or tennis racket. Moss says to notice the motion your hand makes to open the racket’s face through the strike when you want to hit a high shot.
Your hand moves differently on high shots and low shots to manipulate the angle of the face and control how much loft you apply. Your hands should do the same thing to control the clubface when hitting a high pitch.
Practice this hand action through impact to learn to control loft around the greens.
Yes, you can become a better bunker player from home, too
The instinct to help the ball out of the sand is probably causing you some serious problems in the bunkers. When you try to lift the ball, your weight tends to hang back, resulting in thinned or chunked misses. Try this drill from Moss to learn how to keep your weight centered, commit to the shot and control how the club moves through the sand.
On a carpeted area, put down a strip of painter’s tape, or something similar. Moss explains that the tape will help you visualize where your club should touch down while teaching you to control the bottom of your swing arc.
Set up to the tape and take a split-leg stance with all of your weight in your lead leg, dropping your back foot behind you for balance. Now make some swings. Moss says to focus on keeping yourself centered while your arms swing and shoulders rotate normally.
You’ll notice that without the ability to shift your weight, the club will tend to hit the ground in the same spot every time—right on the tape. Transitioning this to the bunkers, once you can control where the club touches down, hitting a good sand shot is simply a matter of placing the ball a few inches in front of that spot.
So that’s how you can practice even your sand shots right from home.