So you’re kicking off the year 2021 with the New Year’s resolution that you are going to play better golf this season.

Problem: The winter weather does not allow you to practice as much. Or the days are too short and it is dark when you get home from work. 

It looks like you will need to practice at home. Does practicing at home actually work?

Yes, as long as you practice with a purpose and have feedback.

Practicing without feedback is possibly more dangerous than no practice at all.

Practicing with a purpose does not need to be difficult and regimented. Just have fun, and practice in short bursts when you can be focused. Maybe practice for only two minutes during commercials.

Here’s an example:  Buy a hitting mat and put a piece of tape down the middle and give yourself a track to swing the club down.  Practice brushing the grass on the mat and make sure you are swinging the club down the path towards the target.  Take it one step further and practice having your club hit the grass in the same spot each time.

It does not matter if you are at the finest practice facility in the world or in your own living room. What matters is how you practice and what you practice.

Decide what part of your game you want to work on. 

For example: If you are struggling with your putting, lay some coasters on the carpet and practice having your ball roll up just short of the coasters from different distances.  Your #1 goal should be controlling the distance. Don’t worry too much about having your ball roll over the coasters. Practice with a purpose. Your goal is to have the balls end up barely short of the coasters. 

If you want to work on putting your ball straight, then buy a flat yardstick and practice putting your ball down the yardstick without the ball falling off the sides. If you can putt the ball straight for 3 feet that will be a huge help to your putting. It will also give you a lot of confidence on the short putts.

If you want to work on technique, I have always believed that one of the best and fastest ways to improve is to make swings in slow motion without a ball. When we have no ball, we aren’t worried about the result and we are able to focus more on the motion and the balance. If you can practice swing in slow motion in front of a mirror than that is even better. You will be amazed at how much it helps with your balance and overall feel of the swing.

Another thing you can do off the course is to get in better golf shape.

It is no secret that today’s top golfers look like Olympic track and field athletes. They work out hard, so they can hit the ball further, and they are much more powerful, so they can swing fast and within balance. What can you do to get in better shape? 

Thankfully research shows that you don’t need a fancy golf specific workout. Just a general strength and fitness program will do the trick. Do some squats, stretch and touch your toes, put your arms out and move back and forth. You can check out unlimited books on the best golf exercises. I think the main thing is get off the couch and just be active for a few minutes in little bursts. 

Remember, you don’t need to practice for hours a day. Just do a little something a few times per week with focus. Make your practice worthwhile. Have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor.