Here at Golf Tips, we're big believers in golf training aids. And we think the ones we feature in the pages of this magazine are worth both your time and money. That said, there's something we particularly like about homemade training aids–you know, common objects and household items that sometimes double as tools that can help your golf game. So we put together a short list of our favorite homemade training aids, with the intent to help you improve your golf game using stuff you probably already have.
1. Rubber Bands: Rubber bands are particularly useful. Take two, and wrap them on both sides of the sweet spot of your putter. As you practice, you'll get instant feedback on whether or not you're mis-hitting your putts or not. We also like this trick for short chips with wedges.
2. D Battery: In a pinch, and don't have a putting training aid nearby? Grab a D battery and practice putting with it. The goal is to putt it in a straight line, and avoid hitting the edges of your battery. This does wonders for improving your direction control.
3. Road Poles: You can find these in your local hardware shop, and they work great for helping you with your alignment and ball-position practice. There's no need to plop down $20 for a couple poles that should cost less than $5.
4. A Hammer: What? Yes, a regular hammer can help you get a better feeling for how the wrist (particularly your right wrist) should hinge in the golf swing. If you're not convinced, give it a try and hammer a few nails into a board. Think of your golf swing as you do it, then make a few golf swings, thinking of the hammer. You'll see what we mean.
5. Your Towel: That towel on your golf bag can help your swing. The next time you hit balls, tuck that towel in your left underarm. Hold it there as you swing, and don't let it fall. This will help you stay connected with the upper body and your arms. There are endless possibilities you can try with a towel.
6. A Door Hinge: Try placing a hinge under your right foot. This should help prevent you from swaying too far off the golf ball.
7. A Basketball: Well, it doesn't have to be a basketball–just about any ball this size will do. One of our favorite tips with a basketball is to place it between your knees as you putt. This makes it easier to have a solid lower body, since it really locks up the legs and holds them still. Other uses for sport/activity balls include placing one between your arms.
8. Hula-Hoops: Hula-Hoops make great targets for chipping and pitching. They take the focus off the target (which in short shots can be a good thing) and get you focused on where the ball should land.
9. A Broken Shaft: Remember the last time your clubhead broke off at the neck? Well, don't throw away that broken shaft. Instead, use it as a training aid. We suggest using the broken shaft with a headcover as a tool to help get you back on plane. We've seen Tour players do this, by the way.
10. Your Phone: We know, we know. Phones don't have much place on a golf course, but on the practice tee, they can be incredibly useful. Record your swing, analyze it, pause it–the things you can do with your phone and your golf swing are pretty incredible. Who would've ever thought we'd have HD cameras in our pocket? Imagine if Ben Hogan had had that.