Golf is one of the great social sports and is accessible to all ages. For most players, a morning or afternoon on a course with a group of friends is one of the most rewarding ways to spend their time. While many players stop dedicating a good amount of time to improve after reaching a level of consistency that allows them to complete an 18-hole course, if you are serious about lowering your handicap and improving your skillset, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time practicing. The best practice will always be with a golf pro, as they will be able to help you in all areas of improvement and eliminate bad habits. However, in order to become a much better player, you will also need to practice by yourself as often as possible. Below are 4 tips to help you improve your golf on your own.

Use the Driving Range to Practice Specific Shots

Most golfers use the driving range exactly as the name implies and just practice long-distance shots with their driver and their irons. If you are new to golf, then this will be very useful as you look to improve your shot consistency. However, if you have been playing for a couple of months, simply using the range to hit long-distance shots is not the best way to maximize your time. Instead, look to improve your shot selection and accuracy by practicing specific shots. Rather than seeing how long you can hit your irons, pick a target, such as a flag, range marker, or landmark, and try to get as close to it as possible on a consistent basis. An effective drill is to choose multiple targets at different distances and only allow yourself one attempt to get as close as possible. This replicates the conditions of playing a hole on a course and will help you improve your ball control and strategy. 

Use a Virtual Sim

While an outdoor driving range is the perfect place to improve your striking consistency and accuracy, a virtual sim is where you can really hone your skillset. Using a virtual sim, you will be able to see multiple data points for every shot, ranging from direction and distance to ball speed and striking patterns. As a virtual sim will accurately show the direction of the ball, you will be able to pick up if you are slightly slicing or hooking the ball much easier than on an outdoor range. This is particularly useful when looking to improve your driver and wood shots. A virtual sim is also the most effective tool for improving your club selection, as you will be able to see the distance of your different irons accurately. Having a good understanding of the average distance of each club in your bag will pay dividends when playing on an actual course.

Concentrate on Your Short Game

The short game is where most amateur golfers struggle the most, and yet, at the driving range, nearly all golfers can be found practicing their long-distance shots. If you want to lower your handicap and start hitting pars and birdies, you should be dedicating at least half your practice time to your short game. As mentioned above, selecting targets on the range is the best way to improve your distance control. Choose targets that are near you, a medium distance away, and 50-70 yards away, and practice adjusting your swing speed and length to hit each target. When practicing your chipping, try to replicate the conditions you will find on the course. For example, you can imagine you’re chipping over a bunker or water obstacle and set a distance you need to clear. It is also vital to practice your putting skills. Unlike your long and short game, improving your putting can easily be done on your own, as you can practice on any flat surface, whether it be at home or at the office. The key skills to improve are hitting the ball in a straight line and distance control.

Play a Course Solo

The only way to truly improve your golf game is to get on a course and play. Playing a course alone will allow you to focus on improving your game without any of the distractions of playing with friends. Taking on a course solo will also take all the pressure off taking your shot quickly (provided other players aren’t waiting for you to finish the hole), allowing you to take the time to analyze your shot selection properly. If you are alone on the course or have no one behind you, you can replay bad shots or try a different approach (do note that some courses frown upon or ban practicing on a course). If you have a lot of time, you can even play the whole hole using two balls and implement a different strategy for each one. This will allow you to compare your shot and club selection to see which ones suit you best. Do note that finding a tee time to play a course solo can be hard, especially during peak tee times. This is where a virtual sim can be very useful. Here at GolfX, our virtual sims have a range of famous courses from across the globe that allow you to play in your own time and challenge yourself.

If you are looking to become a much more proficient golfer, practicing and playing on your own is one of the most effective ways to improve. By implementing the above tips, you should see your shot numbers and handicap lower in no time.