A golf set up in your own backyard makes practicing incredibly convenient. And it may well improve your game. What to include?
How To Build The Best Backyard Golf Set Up
We can spend only so much pandemic time indoors before getting cabin fever. As a golfer, you have it especially challenging, as many courses across the country are closed for winter or COVID...or in some cases have permanently shuttered. Leaving you to somehow keep your game honed by practicing at home.
While this may sound like a downer, it’s only temporary. And there are many ways you can still sharpen your swinging, chipping and putting skills. That means amassing the best tools for the job. While you won’t need all of them listed below, the route you take may be well dictated by your available space and budget... and of course by the part of your game needing the most attention.
Choose the best options for your needs and before long, you may well hit the ground running when courses reopen. And you may even find that your game has improved.
Best Backyard Golf Set Up
Don’t have an expansive yard to hit full-swing shots in? You probably need and want to find the best golf net for you.
It allows you to work on ball striking, muscle memory and tempo. Some even come with targets and can easily fold into a small footprint for convenient storage.
Sure, if you’re in snow country you may have to brave frigid temperatures to use it. But you may also have room inside a garage or shed.
Here are some of our favourites:
Saplize Golf Net With Hitting Mat
This sturdy 10x7 net comes with accessories you’ll use, such as a hitting mat.
Its lightweight yet stable, with a significantly higher impact resistance than most competing products. It can be set up in two minutes, so you can move it inside with ease.
Buy Now UK at Amazon for £90.97
Buy Now US at Amazon for $89.99
Callaway Golf Base Hitting Net
If your ball speed doesn't exceed 190 miles per hour -- and it probably doesn't, trust us -- this premium netting can withstand anything you hit into it.
In fact, it’s reinforced with fiberglass framing and metal base. Callaway’s vector logo acts as your hanging target. Simple to collapse and set up.
Buy Now US at Rock Bottom Golf for $249.99
Izzo Tru Vu Trainer Classic Home Hitting Net
You won’t have trouble visualizing a golf hole with this 7.5’ x 7.5’ unit -- the net is a hole image.
Withstanding 180 miles per hour ball speeds, this high-quality dye sub print prevents wear and tear. It’s super portable and easy to set up or fold down.
Buy Now US at Worldwide Golf Shops for $199.99
Learn from our pandemic experience -- chipping hard plastic balls at a water heater is not a good idea. Instead, a chipping net can serve as the center of your golf practice universe.
It lets you practice your short-game stroke and improve your accuracy. Some even come with targets and can collapse into a small storage bag. Many models can also fit inside a two-car garage.
Here are some of our favourites:
SKLZ Quickster Chipping Net
Three sturdy, different-sized mesh baskets offer you an assortment of targets on this 2.25' x 2.25' sturdy face. Yes, you can use real or plastic balls.
The “Tension-Tie” frame is made of steel and fibreglass, and the net folds flat for easy storage.
US Buy Now at Golf Galaxy
Jef World of Golf Chipping Basket
Highly rated by golfers who have bought this, it’s a basket that will catch and hold your chip shots -- so you don’t have to chase balls around your yard.
It features three chipping targets, within its 23-inch diameter. It’s sturdy and won’t blow over in windy conditions.
Buy Now US at TGW for $34.99
No off-season swing conditioning program would be complete without the use of some training aid. And the privacy of your own yard or garage is an ideal spot to use these.
Using devices that come from well-respected golf veterans who know what it takes to get your swing in the groove is helpful. Ultimately, the aids have to resonate with your swing.
Which ones do we prefer?
Designed by a former Titleist club executive, it’ll improve your swing in 15 minutes tops -- specifically your alignment, rotation, connection and swing plane.
Just put your arms in the cuffs and swing away. Works on full swings, chipping and putting -- for righties and lefties.
Buy Now UK at Amazon for £129.36
Buy Now US at Amazon for $139.95
Impact Press Training Iron
This invention by one of America’s “Best Young Teachers” helps golfers of all ages and abilities looking to improve both the body position, shoulder turn and club movement into the hitting area.
Essentially, you align the red shaft and green indicators at your sternum and target, respectively.
Buy Now US at Rock Bottom Golf for $99
The lightweight, bright yellow aid aims to correct various swing positions, particularly the correct hinge position at the top of a backswing.
It also remedies any clubface alignment issues throughout the swing, which leads to increased distance and accuracy, and perhaps lower scores. Tour pros practice with this. Simple to use, it clamps to a shaft and then cradles your leading forearm during the swing.
Buy Now US at The Golf Warehouse for $29.95
Portable Launch Monitors
Measuring your pertinent swing data used to involve a teaching pro, the private area of a driving range, a sophisticated launch monitor and a computer. But in these days of self-isolation and social distancing, you just need a small, lightweight wireless launch monitor - plus some space to hit shots - to accomplish the feat.
Some require phone apps to sync with. Regardless, set the device a foot from the ball, and swing away. Then marvel over your swing data in real time.
Best Backyard Golf Set Up
Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
Working in conjunction with your iPhone or iPad, this clever, phone-size device offers video playback, outstanding shot tracing graphics (like you see on televised tournaments), and a full shot library so you can analyze your performance.
Buy Now US at The Golf Warehouse for $499.99
Garmin Approach G80
This excellent GPS device doubles as a handy launch monitor – resting on a golf ball to detect crucial parameters such as your smash factor. You can even take on distance challenges in practice mode, to see how you perform under pressure. Its 3.5-inch touchscreen works great in bright sunlight, too.
Buy Now US at Worldwide Golf Shops for $499.99
Voice Caddie SC300
This highly portable, 15-ounce device connects via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, then uses Doppler radar technology to track all of your pertinent swing data. Plus it reads your shot distance out loud.
Buy Now US at Rock Bottom Golf for $499
Putts from 10 feet and in account for the majority of your rolls. Practicing them on your flat carpet can suffice, but it’s far from ideal.
For a more realistic experience, try a sturdy putting mat. Some offer various speeds and come with built-in slopes to help you negotiate breaks.
All come with sunken cups. It won’t be like putting on a real green, but it’s as close you’re going to get under your own roof.
Here are several that we recommend:
Shaun Webb Golf Signature Putting Green
At 9’ long and 3’ wide, it’s a perfect mat to finesse your short-putt stroke on. Plus it has three target cups that will hold the putt if you sink it. It’s thick also, so your footprints won’t crease the surface.
Buy Now US at Walmart for $99
Perfect Practice Putting Mat XL
Rated highly by people who have bought this, it sports “train-track” alignment lines to ensure a straighter putting stroke. It’s more than 15’ long, offers 10-14 Stimpmeter speeds, and automatically returns your ball.
Buy Now US at Golf Galaxy
Auto Return Indoor Golf Putting Mat
Just over 8’ long, this rolls the ball back to you and offers a more realistic feel of grass than most models. It includes two cups, and easily folds up for storage after your putting session.
Buy Now US at Amazon for $75.99
Want to one-up your neighbors for anytime, any-weather practice? If you have the space and money, a simulator may be a perfect solution for you.
Picture yourself playing Pebble Beach or Pinehurst, from the comfort of your own home. The latest simulators offer no-lag performance and detailed graphics that truly look realistic. Install one of these and you will be the envy of all your golf buddies.
Here's a selection of models we recommend:
Foresight Sports helps you design the ideal simulator for your space.
Whether it’s a basic installation for the garage or a customized virtual golf studio, its Performance Simulators are powered by the brand’s renowned GC launch monitor technology that's used in its popular GC2 and GCQuad models - so you can see all of your swing data.
Full Swing Golf
It’s as realistic as you can get indoors. The company offers two models at different budgets, and has a license with the PGA Tour for some unique virtual course offerings. Plus you can play a variety of games and other forms of entertainment on it.
SkyTrak offers launch monitors as well as a complete home setup for the golfer with space to dedicate to their game. The launch monitor delivers instant and real-time 3D shot analysis and ball-flight data, and the company offers a high-definition simulation package for the ultimate setup.
It’s a very portable launch monitor that can be used anywhere once paired to a device through its inbuilt wi-fi.
US Buy Now at SkyTrak from $1,995
UK Buy Now at SkyTrak
So there you have it, plenty of choices to transform your home or backyard into a perfect golf practice facility.
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Scott Kramer is a freelance writer based in Southern California. He carries a 5.2 index, along with a hacker's short game. Yet the former Senior Editor of GOLF Magazine always tries to bring his "A" game to his writing.
Here's what's in Scott's golf bag: Driver: Callaway Epic Speed driver Fairway wood: Titleist TSi2 4-wood Hybrid: Titleist H1 hybrid Irons: Titleist AP1 irons Wedges: Vokey wedges Putter: An old Odyssey Versa putter that's been refurbished twice!
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