best golf practice drills

26 Best Golf Practice Drills

For every golfer out there, the ultimate goal is to get better. And getting better means lowering your score. But how would someone do that without proper golf practice drills? Golf is a sport that requires precision, passion, and dedication.

In this post, we’re going to look at the 26 best golf drills that you can practice at your local driving range. We’ve handpicked these drills to make you a better golfer overall.

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The Importance of Golf Drills

Golf is simply not the act of hitting the ball with your club. You need to swing the club in a certain way and with a certain force to land the ball where you want. There are multiple types of clubs involved for different types of shots.

And to master all of them, you need to cleverly create a practice routine. Playing the shots that you are good at over and over will not be beneficial for you in the long run. Your instinct should always be to improve on areas where you’re weak.

So, let’s get right down to the practice drills.

26 Best Golf Practice Drills

The drills we’ve picked today consist of swing path, putting, drives, chipping, wedge distance control, and overall posture.

#1: Putting Drill

One of the primary areas where golfers struggle is putting. It’s especially true for a rookie golfer. So, let’s find out how to master the art of putting. The drill will help you square your club face to make your shots straighter.

  1. Get a meter-long ruler and place one end where the hole starts.
  2. Place the golf ball on the other end of the ruler.
  3. Get your least favorite putter and try to hole the ball.
  4. Keep practicing until you hole the ball effortlessly.

#2: Club Face Control

This particular drill is designed to help you understand the loft better. You don’t necessarily need a driving range to practice it. All you need is a pencil, some reusable putty (Blu Tack works fine), and an alignment stick.

  1. Attach the pencil to your club face with the putty. Make sure the pencil sits perpendicular to the face.
  2. Now, grip the club in different ways and see how the angle between the ground the pencil changes.
  3. With the help of the alignment stick, you can figure out how your club face behaves when you actually strike the ball.
  4. Practice your grip and stance until you’re confident that the pencil is facing the target.

#3: Matchbox Drill for Irons

Especially for long irons, getting the right speed at the right moment is crucial. Otherwise, you won’t get the distance you want on your ball flight. This is an amazing golf practice drill to master launch control. You’ll need a large match and your favorite long irons.

  1. Set the matchbox where your tee would be.
  2. Get into stance and start swinging.
  3. Your target is to achieve the same match striking sound with your iron, without missing it or sending it flying away.
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#4: The X-Footer Streak

It’s a very similar drill to the first one on our list. The ‘X’ in the name will be replaced with a number of your choice. It’s a putting drill of a kind. You can set your 3, 4, 5, 6 feet away and start rolling your ball with a target to hole it.

If you’ve practiced the putting drill enough, longer distances will not matter to you.

  1. Decide a distance that you want to roll the ball from.
  2. Get into position and set up your ball.
  3. Keep practicing until you’re satisfied with your ratio.

#5: The Towel Swing

Full disclosure, when you first start doing it, it won’t make any sense. But it’s an amazing drill to fix your tempo and control over your club. The towel swing is designed to produce the smooth flow of your body movement you need to become a master swinger.

  1. Take a bath towel long enough so that you can make a knot at one end.
  2. Roll the towel up and tie the knot while you hold the other end as the grip of your club. The knot will play the role of your club head.
  3. Now, get into stance and take swings as you would at the course. It would feel very weird at first. But over time, you’ll see the tempo of your swings falling into a rhythm where you have absolute control over the swing path of the knot.
  4. Now, replace the towel with your club to notice the difference.

#6: Start-Stop Drill

Achieving the perfect golf swing is no easy task. You must work hard on all different points of your swing to master absolute control. And it starts with the start-stop drill. It directly influences your motion, balance, and accuracy.

  1. You’ll need your drivers for this drill. A driving range is an ideal place to practice. But if you can manage enough free space in your home, it will work as well.
  2. Stand in position and start your backswing. When you’re halfway there, we mean when the shaft is parallel to the ground, stop suddenly. You will feel the imbalance it imposes. Your target is to counter it and hold your position.
  3. Continue the backswing and go all the way up. Stop suddenly and let the feeling sink in.
  4. Now, it’s time for the downswing. Similar to previous steps, stop halfway. Then stop again when the club face is about to hit the ball.
  5. Follow the same steps on your post swing as well.
  6. The ultimate goal of this drill is to get your body acquainted with a sudden start and stop motions. As a result, you will generate a smooth tempo even when the conditions are not in your favor at the course.

#7: 50% Swing Speed

This one is very similar to our previous golf practice drill. Instead of stopping midway, you are going to follow through with your swing. It’s an amazing drill for controlling your speed. It will come in handy for your approach shots, wedge shots, and bunker shots equally.

  1. Start in your regular posture.
  2. You can use your drivers, irons, or wedges.
  3. Take a full swing at the half speed of what you normally do.
  4. You’ll be amazed to see how different it feels when you turn the dial down.
  5. Practice with different clubs with different loft angles to see how they all interfere.

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#8: The Headcover Drill

If you’re familiar with how golf drills work, you’ve certainly heard of the headcover drill. It’s tremendously popular among rookie golfers because it helps to recover from issues like duck hooking or shanking the golf ball. It’s one of the best golf practice drills to correct your swing path.

  1. Get the headcover from your driver and put it on the ground.
  2. Set up your tee on the inside of the headcover.
  3. Get into your stance.
  4. Now, practice both inside and outside shots. The inside shots will miss the headcover completely. If your target is inside shots but you’re making contact, you need to work harder to get your swing path right.
  5. And when you’re taking the swing from the outside, the club head should contact the headcover but not move it from the place. The club should barely scratch the surface of the cover.

#9: The Slice Fix Drill

A slice, or a fade for right-handed players is when the ball curves from right to left mid-air. It’s a great shot when you can control it. But uncontrolled slice is a problem, just like duck hooking. The slice fix drill we have here will help you overcome the problem over time.

For best results, you’ll need a swimming noodle. If you don’t have one lying around, run to your local supply store and grab one. You need to curve the noodle from the outside to the inside to understand your swing path properly.

  1. Place your tee and set up the ball just outside the noodle.
  2. Observe the path of your swing carefully. Take help from the noodle to swing in a semicircular manner.
  3. If your club face angle is changing with the noodle, that’s what is causing the slices. Your club face should be always facing the target.
  4. Take a few shots to see how the noodle is improving your directional control.

#10: The Hook Fix Drill

It’s almost the same drill as the previous one. But it’s designed for the opposite direction. A hook for right-handed players is when the ball starts straight and curves to the left mid-air. The extreme form of a hook is duck hooking. Many rookie players go through the problem. If you’re one of them, this drill is for you.

  1. Bend the swimming noodle in the other direction to start with.
  2. An instinct to fix duck hooks is to shoot the ball to the right. You need to stop doing it immediately.
  3. Keep your club face square for the entire swing.

#11: The Ball Strike Drill

Believe it or not, the majority of bad golf shots are due to where you hit the ball on your club face. Duck hooking, slicing, shanking, etc. are all results of hitting the ball with either the toe or the heel of the club.

This amazing practice drill is great to hit the ball fair and square. All you need is a club face spray or some dry shampoo. You can also use impact tape if you want. But those are hard to determine and usually leave residue on your club face.

  1. Get your driver or long iron and cover the club face with the spray.
  2. Take one shot and observe where the impact mark is.
  3. If it’s near the heel or the toe, you know where the problem is.
  4. Adjust your stance, distance from the ball, and swing until you hit the ball with a square club face.

Resource: Golf Plan to Help You Break 80 for 18 Holes

#12: The Tee Peg Drill

Remember the matchbox drill? The tee peg one is designed to complement it. Many players think that breaking the tee every time is okay. Although there are no rules stopping you from breaking the tee, it comes at the cost of digging the leading edge of the club in the ground. As a result, you get a cuffed pitch shot.

With the tee peg drill, you will gain superior control over your pitching by shallowing the angle of attack.

  1. Set up the tee and practice a few shots.
  2. Now, change the angle of the shot and try not to hit the ground or the tee. Your ultimate target is the ball.
  3. Keep practicing until you can leave the course or the driving range with your tees unharmed.

#13: Hybrid/ Clubs Drills

In recent years, hybrid clubs have become a crowd favorite. At least for the latest generation of golfers. These are more forgiving and easier to master. But there is a problem with hybrid clubs. Players tend to play more of an upward swing that causes the ball to fly away uncontrollably.

That’s where this drill comes into play. It’s designed to help you keep your shots low-profile to achieve the perfect balance between ball flight and distance.

  1. Place our ball on the practice mat and put a coin about 3-4 inches in front of the ball.
  2. Take your hybrid club and hit your usual shot.
  3. Chances are, you’ll miss the coin completely or make very light contact.
  4. Now, start and try to hit the coin intentionally to keep the club nice and low.

#14: Chipping Over Obstacles

Chipping is one of those shots the come in handy more often than you realize. This drill is specifically designed to take your chipping skills one step further. You need a bucket and a few balls on the green. As your obstacle, you may use a chair or a small coffee table.

  1. Place the bucket as your target and the balls in varying distances.
  2. Put the obstacle between the balls and the bucket so that you have to chip the ball over it.
  3. Start practicing and keep doing it until you land the ball directly inside the bucket.

#15: The Chip and the Putt

This is one of the best golf practice drills to master both your chipping and your putting. If you’ve followed the drills so far, you should know how to putt and chip your balls separately. It’s time to combine them together for a more powerful result.

  1. Throw the ball anywhere on the green. But make sure you’re away from the hole.
  2. Use your wedge to chip the ball near the hole. And then use the putter to roll the ball into the hole.
  3. Your ideal score is 2-par. You can then design a practice plan for as many games as you would like to play. Keeping the score while you go is the key to success.
  4. You can make the drill even more interesting if you have a practice buddy. Both of you can go into a friendly competition to see who scores the lowest.

#16: The Bunker Drill

Bunkers are the random sandy areas in a golf course. It comes under the hazard group of golf course areas. And you need special attention to avoid or recover from bunkers. This is the drill to help you practice.

  1. Throw your ball into the bunker and draw a rectangle around it. The rectangle will work as a reference for you to hit the wedge in the right place.
  2. Make sure you take the right club for bunker drills. A lob wedge is usually the go-to club for most golfers.
  3. Keep the face of the club open while working the sole efficiently so you don’t slow down the momentum.
  4. The final result should be the sand flying nice and high while the ball flies toward the target.

#17: The Rhythm of Swing

It’s a very crucial practice drill so pay close attention. You don’t need any clubs for this one. However, if you want to simulate a real scenario, you are welcome to use the club.

  1. Get into your regular position and start the backswing with or without the club.
  2. Feel your shoulders rotating in a smooth motion, free from any hesitations or hiccups.
  3. Feel the same with your hips. The leading hips should rotate with the leg, but keeping your feet planted on the ground.
  4. Follow through with the swing in one smooth rotation. Feel all the different checkpoints in your entire swing.
  5. Now, practice it with a club and a ball to notice the improvement. Remember, the goal of this drill is tapping into your mental space and feeling the motion.

#18: One-Handed Putting

This may seem like an odd drill, but it’s one of the most fantastic ways to improve your hand-eye coordination. It’s specially designed for players who struggle with putting shots on the green. For right-handed golfers, you will use only your hand. And for left-handers, it will be the left hand.

  1. Get near the hole and place the ball about 3-5 feet away.
  2. Use your dominant hand to grip the putter while keeping your other hand idle at the back.
  3. Roll the ball gently to improve your coordination between your eyes and your hand.

#19: Aiming with the Iron

We all know that mastering the irons is usually harder than drivers. So, you should definitely dedicate some of your practice time to get the aim right.

  1. Get your favorite long iron and pick out a target. Going to the hole straight away is not a very smart idea. Rather, pick a target right or left of the hole. It can be a person or a patch of grass that you can identify.
  2.  Pick a secondary target about 6-8 feet ahead of you as well. You will pick your stance according to the secondary target.
  3. When taking the shot, imagine a line from yourself to your primary target. And select the force of the swing accordingly.
  4. Make sure your club face is square to the shorter target you’ve selected.

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#20: The ‘Not Looking’ Putting Drill

On short putts, many golfers struggle to keep the line straight. It’s partly because we tend to force the ball with our clubs even after the putt has been done. One clever way to overcome this issue is practicing the ‘not looking’ drill. It will help to keep your head straight while no influencing the path of the ball whatsoever.

  1. Get a respectable distance on the green from the hole. About 3-5 feet works well.
  2. Use a tee or a coin to mark a spot on the ground, just behind the ball.
  3. Once you hit the ball, don’t look at where it goes. Look at the mark on the ground instead.

#21: Early Extension Fix

Early extension is when you extend your hip posture forward before hitting the ball. It’s one of the primary causes behind thin and top shots. This drill to fix the early extension will help you a lot to correct your posture as well as fix your swing path.

  1. Get a chair with a backrest or stand close to a wall.
  2. Get into your stance. Extending the hip backward will make you touch your glutes with the top line of the chair or the wall.
  3. When you go for a regular swing, you may notice that you’re extending your hips forward during the downswing, losing contact.
  4. Now, your target is to maintain contact with the chair or the wall all the way through your swing.

#22: Adjusting the Ball Spin

All of the curves or change of path we see on the golf ball is due to the spin. The golf ball is designed to spin when you hit it. The straighter your club face is, the horizontal the spin on the ball will be. When the ball spins at an angle, that’s when you get the hook or the slice.

You can correctly anticipate the spin of your ball without a launch monitor with help from this drill. All you need is a net to hang in front of your practice area.

  1. Make sure the net covers the entire area in front of you.
  2. Get into position and start hitting the ball with your driver or long irons.
  3. If the spin on the ball is level, the ball will come right back at you. That’s what you want for a straight and accurate shot.
  4. When you see the ball coming in or out after the impact with the net, you have to work on your club face angle.
  5. Keep adjusting your grip and angle until the ball comes back straight.

#23: The Tape Drill

If you’ve been looking for a drill to improve your angle of attack, look no further than this one. It’s one of the best golf practice drills that will improve your launch, angle of attack, and hand-eye coordination.

  1. Start by putting a piece of tape on the driving range mat or the carpet. The tape should be perpendicular to the target.
  2. Your task is to make contact with the tape with your driver, long iron, wedges, putters, or hybrids.
  3. Change the stance consistently to see what feels different. For example. Contacting the tape from a middle stance will feel more natural than a forward stance.
  4. You can gain absolute control over your shots if you figure out the mechanics behind each angle.

#24: The Wall Backswing Turn

Controlling the swing is everything in golf. That’s why you see so many drills dedicated to correcting and maintaining your swing. This is one designed to control your should and hand-lift angle on your backswing.

  1. Stand near a wall so that when you extend your hip backward with your glutes are a few inches from the wall.
  2. Take a regular backswing. If you’re hitting the wall while taking the club up, your shoulders are not moving the correct way.
  3. Practice consciously to not hit the wall with your club. Pairing it with the early extension drill is a great way to improve your overall posture.

#25: Wedge Distance Control with Rubber Bands

The distance you cover with your wedge is largely dependent on where you hit the ball. You can use the ball strike drill in this case as well. But for a more accurate presentation of the problem, we’re going to use rubber bands.

  1. Get two rubber bands and wrap them on both the heel and the toe of the wedge, keeping the center open for impact.
  2. Now, keep hitting the ball over and over.
  3. Depending on where you hit, you’ll feel feedback in real-time. When it feels soft, you’ve either hit the heel or toe. When it feels solid, you managed to hit dead center.
  4. Keep practicing until all of your shots feel solid.

#26: The Swing Stick Drill

This is probably the best golf practice drill to correct your swing. It’s quite an advanced drill so we highly recommend practicing all of the other swing drills we’ve covered so far. For this drill, we’re going to need an alignment stick.

  1. Insert the alignment stick on top of the club, using the hole on the grip. About 12-18 inches should be sticking out the end.
  2. The extended part of the club will interfere with your movement. And that’s the point of this drill. The stick should always be on your right side, touching your waist (for right-handed players).
  3. When you take the backswing, you’ll notice that your hands are extending farther than before, a telltale sign that you’re eliminating unnecessary compensations.
  4. When you take the actual swing, the stick should come to the left side of your body for the follow-through.
  5. Be sure that you practice it slowly because you may hit your left side badly if not careful. It’s the perfect drill for a perfect club face swing.

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