Have you ever wondered how to take your golf game to the next level without clocking countless hours at overcrowded driving ranges? In this guide to creating the ultimate golf practice area at home, we’re weaving wisdom from our existing content library to help you create the best setup for your space and budget. No need to sift through endless articles; we’ve done the hard work for you.
“Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way
to obtain and sustain it: work.” – Jack Nicklaus
Why Practice Golf At Home?
- Practice on Your Time: Your home practice area doesn’t have closing hours.
- Privacy: If you’re like me, you can get self-conscious when you’re trying out a training aid, setting up a tripod or launch monitor at the range while the kids next to you are Happy Gilmore-ing or the guy to your right are playing driving range pro to his wife or buddy.
- Proximity and Cost: In my neck of the woods, many ranges are closing and/or are not as well maintained as they used to be. Buckets have also gotten expensive – I’m paying $15-$30 each to balls that look like they have been in circulation for ten years.
- No More Waiting in Line: The driving range can be a jungle, especially on weekends. Your home? Always open.
- Easier Swing Analysis: With a permanent setup, it’s easier to mount cameras for swing analysis or setup your launch monitor for immediate feedback.
- Consistent Setup: The same net, the same mat, and the same balls mean consistent practice conditions. No range rocks in your home setup.
- Inspire Young Golfers: There’s no better way to generate interest in the game than having accessibility for would-be golfing buddies.
Setting the Stage
Even considering the negatives, the range still has a place in my practice routine – seeing the ball fly and working through a bucket, aiming for real targets is essential, and I get there 1-2 times a week. But nothing beats having the option to walk out my back door anytime and work on my game. Those with the space to set up in a basement or garage are ahead of the game and can develop a great off-season or rainy-day routine.
Understand that there are multiple options for varying budgets and spaces. You don’t have to get everything all at once – I started with a cheap mat and budget net and built up piece by piece to what I think is an awesome setup. One last caveat – this is not about setting up a full-on Golf Simulator, although many or most of the components required for that build are covered here.
Ready to get started? We’ll link you to our handpicked guides for each component of your practice area.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Considerations
Let’s talk real estate. Not the kind that’ll break the bank, but the square footage you’ll need to swing freely and safely. Whether you’re considering an indoor or outdoor setup, each has its own pros and cons. Deciding between an indoor and outdoor practice area hinges on various factors like space, weather, and personal preference. Each option has its advantages and challenges, which we’ve detailed below to help you make an informed choice.
Indoor Practice Area
Space Requirements: Generally, a space of at least 10ft (W) x 10ft (L) x 10ft (H) is needed for a safe indoor practice area. If you’re using a launch monitor – depending on the model, they have requirements for distance from net to ball and then back the ball to monitor – this could extend the space required by a few feet.
Outdoor Practice Area
Space Requirements: Options are limitless – I’ve seen great setups in a corner or middle of a yard. I’ve commandeered a 15×15 patio section for my setup – but you don’t need that much room. Generally, a space of at least 10ft (W) x 10ft (L) should be OK. As with the indoor setup – launch monitors have different distance requirements from the ball to the net and monitor to ball requirements. Consult the manual and forums to see what is working for others. My personal experience with my Rapsodo MLM2PRO is 7 feet from ball to net and 4 feet behind ball, which is roughly 11-12 feet back from net to monitor.
For this section, we’re going to refer to our existing guides and posts about the different components and recommendations for each. We’ll go through them one by one with a quick summary, but you can dig into each of them as needed.
- Hitting Mat: It’s got to start here – see our full guide to the Best Hitting Mats available right now, where we detail offerings such as Firebuilt Hourglass, The Net Return Pro Turf (10% off with Code LEVELUP10), and Real Feel Country Club Elite.
- Practice Net: Obviously, this is the second essential. See our post, The Best Golf Practice Nets of 2023: Top Picks, for the options. As noted above, The Net Return is our recommendation – many options and bundles available. I have had some budget models and hit balls right through them. So unless you are setting it up against a wall, fence, or house – be careful with the net and pay attention to quality.
- Balls: You don’t need ProV1s, but don’t use Range Rocks either. When I finish a round, I throw the balls left into the bucket for home practice. You can also look at some models from our list of Best Balls for the Average Golfer.
Level Up Your Practice
- Launch Monitor: This can be a great investment in your game, and most models are portable enough to take you to the range. See our Best Launch Monitors for Your Game in 2023: Top Picks, where we review some of the best budget and premium options.
- Video: Depending on the Launch Monitor you select, it may take video from down the line, which is a plus. But if you’re looking for more than that (and you will need face-on for most apps and Virtual Instruction options). Why not just use your smartphone with a tripod? Golfpod has you covered here. You can read our thoughts in Swing Theory: The Power of Video Analysis.
- Training Aids: Utilizing the right training aids can have tremendous benefits. One of the advantages of practicing at home is that you don’t have to lug them all with you or limit yourself to bringing one or the other with you. Plus, you don’t have to entertain the stares and questions from others about what the heck you’re doing! See our list of go-to practice aids in Maximize Your Golf Potential: Our Definitive Guide to Swing Training Aids 2023.
Take It Further
- Apps & Instruction: There are many options here, from V1Sports to Sportsbox AI, Virtual Instruction, and Swing Analysis like Top Speed Golf. Many active teachers on Twitter also offer Swing Analysis, free trials, and paid services. I just gave myself the topic of a future post. If you want to learn more about some of these options, check out our article on AI’s impact on Golf Technology.
- Speed Training: Not hitting it far enough and want to add distance? A Speed Training program like The Stack System may be just what you need; you can work through it in your home practice area. Be warned that you will need a launch monitor for most programs.
- Storage: Indoor or Outdoor, you’ll need a place to store all this gear. Garage or closet space inside or a few sports bins can do the trick. I’d recommend a deck box for outdoors, which also doubles as seating.
- Impact Tape is a great tool at home or the range, as is putting Duct Tape on the clubface – I like to use Red because it stands out and is easier to see the ball mark. This old-school technique can be a game-changer for golf practice because it provides instant feedback on where your clubface hits the ball, helping you zero in on the sweet spot for optimal performance. It’s an affordable and easy-to-use feedback tool. For more on this, see our post “Impact Tape: Enhancing Your Swing Through Visual Feedback.”
Putting it All Together
So there you have it – those are the building blocks of a great home setup. Once you’ve got that in place, refer to our How to Practice Golf at Home: Your Ultimate Guide. If you are overdoing it, you may need to refer to our guide to dealing with pesky golf blisters!