It’s tough to be a golf enthusiast in the fall and winter. High winds, low temperatures, and even snow can keep you off the greens for months at a time. Even in the spring and summer, a rainy day can curb your golfing plans. And whether you’re practicing or playing for the love of the game, stress relief, or both, bad weather can dampen both your mood and your golfing prospects.
Although you’d rather be out on the green, you can still get in some practice on a rainy day. You can spend time practicing your putt, which will satisfy your golfing desires while also assisting you in becoming more skilled on the course. All you need is a few simple items, some space, and time to transform your rainy day into your own putting clinic.
What You’ll Need for Putting Practice at Home
To practice putting at home, you’ll need:
- Putter with an appropriate putting grip
- Golf balls
- A PerfectPractice professional-quality putting mat
- Alignment mirror (optional)
- Putting gates (optional)
Of course, you’ll need your putter and balls. And if you’re a regular golfer, you likely already have those on hand. But if you’ve only rented golf equipment before, you’ll want to select the right putter and proper putting grip. Don’t worry, we’ll go over that in the following sections.
Choosing the Right Putter
When you’re considering which putter to purchase, keep in mind that since you’ll soon be playing on the green, it’s best to get a putter (and putting grip) suitable for the outdoors (rather than your putting map or carpet). Find one with the proper length so that when you line up, your hips are over your heels, your eyes are over the ball, your hands are under your shoulders, and your elbows are bent.
You’ll also want a putter with an appropriate head weight relative to its length. A shorter putter will have a heavier head weight to ensure similar performance between taller and shorter golfers. The balance point is also important. If you’re looking for a square-to-square stroke, you’ll want a face-balanced putter. However, if you’re looking for an arc stroke, you’ll need a toe-balanced putter. And while it’s not as crucial as these other considerations, you may wish to choose between a mallet head or blade head design. In general, if you practice square-to-square strokes with a face-balanced putter, a mallet head design may be best. In contrast, you may be better served with a blade putter if you typically hit the ball with a toe-balanced putter.
Keeping these considerations in mind:
- Balance Point
- Head Design
You’ll be able to find the perfect putter for your putting practice at home and while you’re out on the course.
How to Select the Right Putting Grip
While it’s often overlooked, you’ll want to select the right putting grip. When you grasp your putter, you’ll apply pressure to the grip, which can significantly impact your stroke. For example, a traditional putter grip has a heightened thickness at the top that tapers off towards the bottom. When you use this grip, you’ll be applying more pressure with your top hand than your bottom hand.
There are also non-tapered grips that allow golfers to apply equal pressure with both hands. Neither is better than the other, as there are professional golfers who use both. However, it may be best for beginners to use non-tapered grips until they understand how their grip pressure affects their stroke.
In addition to choosing between tapered and non-tapered grips, you’ll want to consider a grip’s:
- Surface texture
- Price point
Of course, you’ll want to select a grip that aligns with your budget. However, pay close attention to the first four qualities because they will have a significant impact on your precision, control, and performance. Choosing the right grip can be the difference between making and missing a putt, so test out a few before you settle on the one that works best.
Other Items You’ll Need
Carpets are no substitute. In fact, even if you hit the ball accurately, the carpet thread itself is likely to make the ball weave a bit. Thick carpets can also slow the ball down, making it harder for you to gauge how much force you need to apply and practice distance control.
The best way to practice putting at home is with a good putting mat, which will help you simulate the putts you need to make outdoors more accurately. While putting mats cannot replicate the exact conditions you’ll find on the green, they can give you the surface you need to practice and perfect your stroke. And at less than $200 on average, they are a great value.
If you’re just starting out or struggling with your stroke, consider a putting alignment mirror as well. These mirrors can help golfers of all levels ensure their eyes, feet, and shoulders are positioned correctly for the perfect putt. Building muscle memory takes time, and until proper putting stance is second nature, it’s not a bad idea to have a mirror on hand.
How to Practice Putting at Home
Once you have your mat and golf balls set up, putter out with the grip on, and uninterrupted time ahead of you, you’ll be ready to get started. To practice, you’ll first need to grasp the putter appropriately. Your dominant hand should be wrapped around the top of the club, followed by your non-dominant one. Your bottom fingers can either interlock or overlap, whichever feels more comfortable for you.
Face the direction you want to hit the ball. Standing up straight, draw your elbows towards your rib cage, then tilt forward so your knees are bent and your hips are slightly wider than your heels. The head of your putter should be right behind the ball, while your head should be slightly over the ball itself.
Next, visualize yourself making the shot using perfect form and technique. If you feel the urge to make slight adjustments to your form and stance to do so, make them. Visualizing the perfect outcome can help program and condition your mind and body to make the right movements.
Step slightly away from the ball and take a few practice swings. Again, visualize yourself hitting the ball into the hole while taking these swings, adjusting your grip, posture, and stance as necessary. Then line up behind the ball and take your shot.
If you’re new to practicing putting at home, it may feel strange to do so. But if you’ve got some room and time, it can be a good substitute if you can’t go outside. And with a little effort, you can practice lag putting at home, improve your distance control, and increase your golfing confidence.
Putting Practice Drills
Of course, you don’t want to just practice hitting the ball into the hole from the same distance for hours or days. You’ll quickly get bored, and your rate of improvement will begin to plateau. You’ll want to incorporate some specific drills into your practice that can help you strengthen certain skills and provide some variety.
Try putting your back against the wall, which can help prevent you from rotating your body fully as you would during a full swing when you putt. To do this, stand with your back gently touching a wall and your putting mat lined up parallel to the wall. Assume your putting stance keeps your back in contact with the wall. Take several practice swings. You should notice your lower body moving less, which can afford you more distance control. Now practice sinking putts in this fashion.
Try drills meant to improve your precision. You can create lanes on your putting mat using putting gates that can help you refine and hone in your stroke. Practice taking swings with gates of different widths to ensure you can handle tough putts on the green. Start with the widest gates, and when you can get the ball through them without hitting the sides, use narrower and narrower gates to hone in your accuracy.
You can even try one-handed drills to spice up your at-home putting practice. You may believe this is just for highly skilled golfers to show off. But one-handed drills can substantially benefit your control, grip pressure, accuracy, and, most importantly, your confidence. Start by practicing these drills 3 feet away from your target, and once you’ve mastered that distance, move back a foot or two. Add putting gates to add even more difficulty and refine your control and precision even more.
Practicing Putting At Home
Inclement weather or dreary seasons don’t have to stop you from quenching your thirst for golf. Though you may not be able to whack a ball at the driving range to destress, you can practice and sharpen your golf skills at home. With some basic equipment, you can begin to master the game or perfect your already solid form. All you need is a putter, some balls, and a high-quality mat, and whether rain, sleet, or snow, you’ll be ready to play some golf.