Keep Your Golf Game Sharp During the Winter
By GBB Staff
Winter is here. Best case, you will experience annoying frost delays. More than likely, you will deal with cold wind, sleet, snow, and probably some course closures. All avid golfers in cooler climates have suffered the consequences of putting the clubs on the shelf for a few months. You get on the first tee in the Spring and feel like you have never held a club before. It takes you weeks or months to get your game back.
This doesn’t have to happen. Even during a harsh winter season, you can keep your game sharp. You can be ready to go low as soon as the temperatures start to rise in March.
Get Your Body Right
The winter or offseason is the perfect time to work on your physical conditioning. You can lose a few pounds, improve your flexibility, and increase your strength. You can approach in a few different ways.
First, you can partner with fitness trainer. We would recommend you find a TPI certified professional in your area. TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) was created to study how your body functions in relation to the golf swing. They will give you an assessment to determine the most efficient way for you to swing the club and to determine if you have physical limitations that could be hurting your swing or potentially could lead to injury. Following your assessment, they will put together a workout plan specifically to help improve the performance of your body and your swing.
If you prefer to attack this problem on your own, do some research for golf specific fitness and stretches. We can thank Tiger for it – the golf fitness business has improved significantly in the last 20 years. You shouldn’t have any problem finding details on the best activities to help your game. This article includes some of our favorite golf related exercises.
Another option is to purchase a swing aid designed to help you with your grip and clubhead speed. One popular option is the Power Stick Distance Trainer, but there are several on the market.
Fine Tune Your Stroke
Who among us couldn’t save some strokes on the greens? Regardless of the weather, you have no excuse for losing your putting stroke during the winter. You can practice on any flat surface and anytime you have 10 minutes to spare.
It can be as simple as rolling some putts in to a coffee mug on your carpet. Try different surfaces in your house to practice on different speeds. Develop a game to keep you focused. Putt from different distances – you must make five in a row before you can change the location of the coffee mug.
Are you willing to make an investment in your game? Artificial putting greens have become very realistic and most now come with putting drills built into their design. Newer versions are easy to pull out for practice and quick to store out of the way. Just think how shocked your golfing buddies will be when you come out in the Spring rolling in birdie putts!
Keep the Dust Off Your Clubs
Do not store your clubs away and forget about them. Find a way to keep them involved during the winter months. Find a heated driving range and make a plan to visit once a week if possible. Even if you only go for 30 minutes and hit a small bucket, you are helping your body remember the motion.
Do you find the driving range a bit boring and struggle to focus? Find a high-tech driving range near you. TopGolf and Drive Shack continue to open new locations and most likely you have one within an hour or so. They are worth the trip and perfect for some winter golf action.
They are climate controlled, so you can play in almost any weather. You can get some food and drinks and enjoy a couple hours of playing games or simulated holes on famous courses. If you enjoy advanced metrics, you can check out your ball speed, spin rate, etc.
If a driving range isn’t an option for you, at least once a week grab a club and make some swings in your house. You don’t want to totally lose the muscle memory you have developed during the summer.
Focus on the Forecast
Don’t give up on the idea of getting a round in during the winter. Even the artic circle has an occasional warm day (probably not, but you get the point). On a weekly basis (we recommend Monday mornings) checkout the 7-day weather forecast. If you see sunny and temperatures above 45-50 degrees, consider making a tee time and hitting the course. Sneaking in a round once a month in the winter can make a huge difference to your readiness in the Spring.
Some quick tips if you find a day to play in the Winter:
- Dress in layers that don’t restrict your swing.
- Make sure you have a way to keep your hands warm. Golf mittens and handwarmers are the perfect solution.
- A stocking cap is a must to keep your head and ears comfortable.
- A warm drink in a thermos is always a good idea.
- If possible, walk instead of riding in a cart
Finally, don’t worry about what you shoot – the key is experience the course and enjoy being outside. You might want to leave the scorecard in the pro shop and just play to play.
As Winter approaches don’t think of it as the end of your golf season. Sure, there will be less golf during the cold months, but you can still stay engaged in the game you love. Be creative. Find solutions that work for your climate and use the “offseason” to your advantage. Look at it as a potential competitive advantage. If all your golf buddies put their clubs away for a few months you will be able to jump on them when March and April come around. Get a head start on the 2022 golf season!