There are times when getting out on the course or heading to the range isn't possible for one reason or another. However, there are still ways you can improve. In the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 coach Gary Alliss shares some simple tips on how to practice indoors...
The game of golf, and indeed, the world, is in a strange and uncertain place. One of the great challenges we are all facing is how to stay active at home. This is where golf, and a smart indoor practice routine, comes in. This might just be the time to make those lasting improvements you've had your eye on for some time. Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Gary Alliss has produced a great piece on how to practice golf indoors. His simple advice can help improve your game, even if can't make it to the course right now.
A good path starts with a good takeaway in the golf swing. This can be trained using a basketball as I am doing here. Hold it so you are looking straight down the lines at address. Adopt your normal golfing posture – your left shoulder should be a fraction higher than your right, and your right elbow should be fractionally bent. Now practice your takeaway. There should be no rotation of your forearms but as you finish the takeaway the lines on the ball should still be pointing towards you.
You can also use the basketball to perfect your release in the golf swing. When we talk about the release we are referring to how the angle stored in your wrists during the backswing is ‘released’ through impact. Get it right and you’ll inject some crucial extra clubhead speed when you need it most, while also benefiting from better accuracy.
As you practice this move with the basketball, I want you to release the ball as you release the angles in your wrists. The ball should go straight towards your target. If you are prone to ‘casting’ – releasing this angle too soon – you will let go of the ball too soon and it will head off to the right.
Posture & plane check
Here’s a great drill to illustrate where the club should be half way into the backswing. Stand upright with the club stretched out in front of you with a mirror directly. Now move the club back so the sole is pointing directly at the mirror. Now get into your normal golf posture – do this by hinging your upper body over the ball at the hips and then flex your knees. Now look at the position of the club in the mirror. You should have the perfect posture and halfway back position - try to replicate this in your swing!
One of the most common mistakes I see among the players I coach is an over the top golf swing. This is when the right shoulder initiates the downswing causing the club to move outside the ball-to-target line during the downswing. In this situation pulls and slices are the inevitable result.
To help, buy a stretchy exercise band and attach it to a door handle. Stand far enough away from the door so the band is tight and then practice your downswing move. The band will prevent your right shoulder from coming over the top, encouraging you to use your hips to start the downswing. This drill could transform your weak slice into a powerful draw!
The way you transfer your weight in the golf swing is essential for both power and accuracy. A great way to get a feel for that is to make a series of swings without your shoes on. With your feet sitting flush on the ground you should get a much better appreciation for the flow of your swing. Your weight should move over your right side on the way back and then towards the target on the way through.
For every chip shot you hit, you need a clear picture of what your ball is going to do. Visualising the flight, landing spot and roll is essential and this drill is designed to help you think about your flight and landing spot. Find a basket or small bin, place it about 10ft from you and hit 10 balls. See how many you can get to land in the basket…
Putting strike drill
Those who are naturally good on the greens have one thing in common – an ability to find a true roll. This is something you can hone in practice by drawing a line around your ball. Find a flat area of carpet and hit a series of putts. If you are delivering the putter on a good path and striking the ball from the middle of the blade, the ball will roll with the line pointing straight at your target throughout. This is a great way of training the fundamentals to a good stroke without becoming too technical and losing your feel.
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Location: Various (south coast)
Gary began his PGA training at Trevose, where, in 1983, he became head professional. In 2005, he joined The Belfry, where he managed a team of 35 PGA professionals. He's travelled the world several times over, working extensively in Slovakia, Ghana and Israel, and from January 2022 he will be will be taking over his father's position as patron of England and Wales Blind Golf Society.
Sound fundamentals. Aim and alignment, grip where the hands work together; good posture to promote balance; and set a sound swing plane. The game is about moving the ball forwards. The ball doesn't know who's holding the stick - all it knows and reacts to is impact. Get impact correct consistently and you can play golf quite well.
Greatest teaching influence:
My grandad, Percy. He taught me to play and a great deal of what I learned from him in the 1950s I still tell pupils today. And John Jacobs and Alex Hay, both of whom delivered the message in simple language. They were excellent demonstrators and wonderfully articulate.
Greatest success story:
A lady (Valerie Stock) came to me fearing she'd never see her husband during their retirement if she didn't learn to play. She booked two lessons per week for three months, but she just couldn't hit a ball. Suddenly she stopped coming. Four weeks later, and after practising in her garden, she rebooked - and sure enough she could play. Before we could progress, she emigrated. Three years later, Valerie walked into the golf shop and told me she was playing off 19, saying everything I told her just took a long time to process!
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