Golf is a family sport and year-round fun for all ages. Getting the entire family outside and active makes it a fun and collaborative activity, too. How can newer or less experienced golfers of all ages improve their skills? With simple at-home or on-range drills that create a good golf routine — on and off the course.
Creating a good golf routine starts with making time to improve your game — especially for newer or less experienced players. Reading articles online or in magazines can be helpful, but sometimes makes it harder for golfers to understand or know if they’re doing it correctly. Oftentimes, the articles may not pertain to their particular golf swing.
With that in mind, I highly recommend setting up weekly or bi-weekly golf lessons with a local golf professional. Everyone’s golf swing is completely different, so an instructor can help a golfer assess their swing strengths and help to fine-tune their individual approach to the game.
I recommend that golfers spend at least 15 to 20 minutes each day practicing their swing. On the range, a great practice routine is hitting 10 good target shots with each club in the bag, then hitting 10 chip shots to the target of choice. Finish by picking out nine holes on the putting green and two-putting each of them.
While the range is great for swing practice, I notice many golfers tend to stay on the range due to comfort and familiarity. However, the best way to learn the game is to get out on the course for a casual practice round. I recommend that golfers start by playing two balls, which allows them to work on shots that are a little more difficult instead of always playing from the fairway.
Not only is it important for all golfers to have a practice routine on the course, but they also need one off the course. I recommend setting up a backyard chipping course by placing baskets at 20 to 40 yards or putting a basket in each corner of the yard and then chipping a ball into each. This will help golfers visualize landing spots on the green.
If there’s room for a hitting net, golfers can imagine a course they frequently play. Think of hole one — hit with the driver, then iron, then chip into the bucket. Using different clubs for each “hole,” golfers will gain familiarity with all the clubs in their bags.
If the backyard isn’t suited for practice, practice swinging inside with a flashlight. Grip the flashlight and set it up to the “ball.” Then take the flashlight straight back along a line. At the top of the swing, the flashlight should be pointing at the target. This helps build muscle memory for the wrist hinge at the top of the swing.
Golfers can also practice weight transfer by grabbing a filled laundry basket and swinging it back like a backswing. Then follow through, transferring the weight forward. At follow through, 90% of the golfer’s weight should be on the front foot. This basket drill should help golfers turn their hips to move the basket instead of swaying back and forth. The goal is to keep the head still and only turn the hips to move the basket.
Another great way to spend time on the course and practice is by bringing the entire family along for a fun and engaging activity. Families can start by playing the course from closer to the green instead of the regular, intimidating tee boxes. Beginners can start from 50 yards out, then move back to 100 yards, then 150 yards and finally as far back as the tee boxes as their skill levels improve.
Playing a scramble format — commonly known as best ball — means everyone gets to participate. After everyone tees off, the next player in rotation selects the best shot to hit. Continue this process till the ball is holed. I guarantee the kids (and adults) will love it — the game moves fast, and any uneven play is smoothed out.
Finally, the most important tip is to never give up. Golf is a game of lifetime fun that all ages and skill levels can enjoy. All it takes is a little practice and a good routine to build strong golf habits.
About the Author
Ashley Skidmore is the Director of Golf at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa’s Hill Country Golf Club. With nearly a decade of experience in golf management, Skidmore has worked at several golf clubs throughout the region including Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines, Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock, the Broadmoor in Colorado and Promontory Ranch Golf Club in Utah. She has received several accolades throughout her career including the 2020 STPGA “Golf Professional of the Year” and the STPGA “Player Development” award in 2017.