This is Part 1 of a “train from Home” article written by Singapore’s top Touring Professional Jesse Yap….. Follow him on Insta @jesseyap.golf
Effective Golf Practice at Home
As a touring professional currently locked down in Singapore, where no golf courses or practice facilities are open, the last week has been an unprecedented period of uncertainty and experimentation. The question looming over my head has been ‘how can I take advantage of this break to make myself a better player, instead of letting my skills stagnate?’ In this article I will cover a mindset shift that I’ve had to make and a few drills I am doing while stuck inside.
Human beings are conditioned to be result-oriented. On the golf course or at the range it’s difficult to ignore where the ball is going, even when you know you should because you’re working on a mechanical change. Changes take time, and often you’ll see a dip in performance before getting the improvement you’re after. I’ll admit that I’ve reverted to old swing patterns mid-round because I didn’t like how I was hitting the ball. But what if taking the golf ball away could actually be helpful? It takes hard work to make changes stick, so why not put in some of the work now, when there are fewer distractions? For most of us, even if we do find ways to practice there is no way we would be able to get the usual level of feedback. It’s the perfect time to take a closer look at swing mechanics and ingrain better movements.
Here are two drills I have been doing and how they can help you:
Slow-motion swing and checking club positions.
In this drill I take the club back slowly, checking it when the shaft is parallel to the ground to make sure the club head is outside the hands, because my tendency lately has been to take the club back inside. From the top of the backswing, I make a slow motion downswing, feeling my left wrist slightly bowed and exaggerating a ‘draw feel’ through impact.
Making slow motion swings is an extremely versatile drill because you can work on whatever you’d like: weight shift, footwork, club path, etc. Just check to be sure that you are doing it correctly; you should use a mirror or window to look at your reflection, or pester your family members or housemates to take a photo or video for you. The drill might sound boring and tedious, and I’m not saying that it’s not, but without the temptation and distraction of having golf balls to hit it should be quite effective in creating muscle memory.
Half-shaft choke down swing.
Grip down to the middle of the shaft so that the grip of the club rests on the left side of the torso at address (see image below). When the left arm is parallel to the ground on the backswing, the butt end of the grip should be pointing to where the ball would usually be. Then swing through and focus on preventing the grip from hitting your body as the club moves through the hitting area. These checkpoints ensure the club is on plane, encourage rotation of the body through the ball and prevent excessive flipping of the wrists.
Besides these drills (and there are many more great ideas on YouTube) you can also putt on a felt mat or exercise mat over a small target like a coin. When I have a little more room available I like to do max-speed swings right and left handed to keep my swing speed up. We certainly have to be inventive during these times but with the right mindset it’s not difficult to improve your game.