Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Guest Post: 3 indoor drills you should be doing right now!

For my readers from colder climes, a guest post Maria Palozola, to help you gear up for new season (that being said, it's pretty good advice anyway irrespective of the season you find yourself in).

Still Cold Outside?  

With a couple more months of winter for most people in the states there's still time to make major changes before your season starts.  The good news is just about every part of your game can be improved upon indoors.  I tell my students there really never is an excuse not to practice, because you can work on both your full swing an short game indoors and without even ever hitting a ball.  You need to focus on making a new move first and get that grooved before you start worrying about the ball flight.  If you let the result distract you, it will only slow your progress.  For this reason I absolutely love teaching indoors and having my students hit into a net during the off season. I see them achieve their swing change goals much more rapidly than summer time students.  

Without knowing your own personal game and seeing your swing it's difficult for me to pick from my vast library of indoor drills and customise them to each person's game.

What I did instead is pick my 3 favourite drills (one for putting, one for short game and one for full swing) that can benefit EVERY golfer regardless of their skill level or issues they may have with their technique.  

Top 3 Indoor Drills

Putting - Baseboard Drill

This is by far my favourite indoor putting drill because it really kills two birds with one stone. 

The Baseboard Drill will help you monitor your swing path, but will also help you keep your head and body steady.  

Set Up - Simply put your head against a wall and the toe of your putter against the baseboard. 

Step 1 - Try this first without a ball.   Make slow practice strokes back and forth keeping your head and body steady.  If you are a player that likes to keep the putter moving in a straight line you will trace the baseboard with the toe of the putter.  If you arc the putter, then you can watch the putter head slowly move off the baseboard in an arc on the backswing, return to the baseboard in the middle and then move off of it again in an arc on the follow through. 

Step 2 - Now place a ball in front of your putter head and practice rolling putts with your desired swing path.  

Chipping - Pillow Drill

There aren't a lot of chipping drills you can do indoors, but this is a really useful one. 

With this drill you can work on your technique, but also work on your carry distances to your landing spot.  Hitting your landing spot is the key to rolling balls up tight to the pin for make-able one putts. 

Set Up - Grab the wedge of your choice and a pillow from your bedroom.  Make sure you have a good amount of space and use carpeting or a hitting tarp. You can certainly use real balls, but there is no need as foam practice balls give pretty good feel and will prevent holes in the walls if you shank one!  If you really don't trust yourself line your walls with pillows. 

Step 1 - Place a bedroom pillow about 5 yards away. Chip with your favourite club and practice landing the ball on the pillow. Don't roll the ball to the pillow, but rather fly it there. 

This drill is all about controlling your carry distances.  Once you get the hang things move the pillow progressively 5 yards away each time and then move it closer in again. 

Step 2 - Make a mental note of or chart the backswing length you need to make to fly the ball various distances. 
If you learn to control the trajectory and carry on your chip shots, the roll out will be very predictable.

Full Swing - Swing Plane Point Check

To me this is the ultimate indoor drill for full swing and I always try to include it when people ask me what they should do inside over the off season. This is the ultimate perfectionist's drill as it will get your swing on plane helping you hit the ball both straighter and farther.  

Set Up - Grab a mid iron and a second club that you will need to lay on the ground representing your target line.  Placing a tee in the bottom of the grip on the club you will be swinging may help you see where your club is pointing. Take your set up and hover the club in your hand over your target line.   

Step 1 - Start swinging your club back until it is parallel to the ground. This is the first check point.  The club in your hand should not only be parallel or even with the ground, it should be parallel to your target line if you have swung the club on plane.

Step 2 - Hinge your wrists. At this point your front arm (left arm fro right handers) should be even with the ground.  Check here to see if the butt end of your club is pointing back at your target line. If so you are on plane.  If the butt end is pointing in front of your ball, then you are too flat.  If the butt end is pointing inside the ball then you are too steep.  

Step 3 - Complete your shoulder turn and let your arms rise to the top.  Check to see that the club shaft is now parallel to the target line again. 

You can probably see the pattern here.  At all check points your club should be either pointed at your target line or parallel to it. You simply follow the same pattern with your downswing and follow through.

Apply The Antifreeze

Work on these 3 drills to keep the rust off of your clubs and your body while it's still cold outside. Don't fill your first 10 rounds this year with double and triple bogeys simply because you didn't have time to get to the range or there was snow on the ground.  

Instead, hone every part of your game by doing indoor drills for just a few minutes a day.

Maria Palozola is a Top 50 LPGA instructor who was voted by her peers as Midwest Section Teacher of the Year in 2013, 2011 & 2008.  She has taught golfers of all skill levels for more than 20 years and Golf Digest ranks her a Top 5 Teacher in the State. Maria instructs online at http://www.mygolfinstructor.com and offers private lessons in St. Louis at http://www.stlouisgolflessons.com.


Anonymous said...

great post!

How To Play Golf said...

Really practical and easy to follow drills. Thanks!