Wiffle Golf - Use Bigger Wiffle Balls for More Fun and Success
The purpose of wiffle golf is to take a game that measures itself by thousands of yards and shrink it down to a sport that can be enjoyed in a relatively small space. Most of us would like to practice golf without having to go to the driving range every time we felt the urge to take a full swing. Unfortunately, there is little satisfaction in hitting a typical wiffle golf ball. The mass is too light to fly true off of the club or to give the sensation of actually having made solid contact with the ball.
You need bigger, stronger wiffle balls. Head to Walmart during baseball season. Next to the baseball equipment you will find plastic baseballs in packs of a dozen. These are made from a much harder plastic than a typical wiffle ball as they are intended to be hit on a batting tee with a wooden or aluminum baseball bat. It's also important that these balls have grooves on the top half and the bottom half of the ball. A normal wiffle ball only has them on the top half, but if we're going to be hitting them with a golf club, they need to be balanced to create a true ball flight.
To get the most satisfaction out of your bigger wiffle golf balls, you'll need to be able to take a full relaxed short-iron swing and not knock it out of your playing area. For an average competent golfer, this should be about thirty yards, though depending on wind conditions, slope, and the firmness of your playing surface, you may need up to forty yards. I use a 9-iron when I'm playing wiffle golf around the yard, though I'd recommend using anything from a pitching wedge down to a 7-iron. Any club with a steeper slope is going to put too much flat force on the ball and they are going to break and dent much faster than if you use a high iron or a wedge.
I started using bigger wiffle balls about two years ago. Before that, I hadn't played much "real" golf. Trips to the driving range would result in a lot of clanks and thuds and frustration, and I didn't feel like I could keep pouring money into it without making noticeable progress. There also wasn't very much stimulation at the driving range. Practice was tedious, and before long I gave up. However, I still had the golf itch. So I went to the store intending to buy some wiffle golf balls thinking I'd set up a course for myself around the yard. Fortunately, they didn't have any, but they did have the aforementioned heavy-duty wiffle balls, so I bought a pack not realizing how well they'd work.
The other day I went to the driving range for the first time since I started playing wiffle golf in my yard. Whereas in my previous golf life I was erratic at best with short irons, I was consistently placing my 9 iron within 10 yards of the 125-yard flag. It was an astronomical improvement, though I still can't hit anything below a 5-iron with much consistency.
The key to my improved short-iron game was obviously the wiffle golf. The bigger balls are like training wheels on a bicycle. They allow for more room for error while at the same time rewarding successful swings. There is still a very precise spot to hit the ball that will yield the best ball flight, it just won't be so gruesome as a real golf ball when you miss the sweet spot.
Building Your Own Wiffle Golf Course
I used aluminum arrows for my "holes" because they were easy to insert into the ground whether it was soft or hard. They blended well with the yard, so the squirrels, neighbors, and other unseen onlookers probably didn't even notice them. You'll also want to consider whether you are going to take a true divot swing. If you do, be prepared to spend some time repairing your lawn.
The rules are simple: when you've chipped your ball within a club-length of the pin, you have sunk your putt and you move on to the next hole. Par-2, Par-3, and Par-4 should be used through your playing area. Remember, you are practicing your short-irons, not trying to drive a Par 5. Come up with your own hazards and penalties. Don't be afraid to add that pond your wife has always wanted. Depending on the size of your yard and any obstacles it might have, you may be forced to use the same pin multiple times. As long as the approach shot is different, it'll work.
At some point you may want to think about corporate sponsorship or opening your own wiffle golf course to the public. Just remember that there are usually zoning laws prohibiting this sort of enterprise in a residential neighborhood.