Keeping Your Game Strong Through the Winter
If you're one of the many golfers who live in an area of the world that experiences four seasons, you know the struggle. The cold air doesn't always keep us off the links, but that cold, white, fluffy stuff that covers the ground does. We have no choice, but to hang up our clubs for a couple months.
Just because you can't get out on the golf course to play, doesn't mean you have to stop working on your game too. Not only can you maintain your skill level, but you can improve in a lot of ways.
One of the biggest struggles with the offseason is flexibility. We spend a lot of time indoors, inactive, and when we do go outside, it's hard to resist the muscle tension that builds up.
Golf, perhaps more than any other major sport, requires and prioritizes flexibility over raw strength. A lot of amateur golfers struggle to get their game going in the spring because they've let their muscles stiffen over the last few months.
Spending 5-10 minutes each day doing some stretches can do wonders for your game come spring. Focus on shoulder, torso, and neck stretches. It doesn't have to be anything complicated. Just get those muscles moving, extending, and slowly pushing the limits of your range of motion. Slowly, you'll build a great base for your golf swing to rebound from a long, cold, winter.
Not everyone has a place in their home where they can, safely, make full golf swings and hit balls into a net. If you do, that's great. If not, I'm guessing you probably have a place where you can practice the drill I call "slow swing." Basically, this taking your full, normal, golf swing at an extremely slowed down pace. Try to slow it down to the point where it takes you 1-2 minutes to do one swing.
This drill does three things. First, it helps to build your bodily awareness. The more you do this and observe the different moving parts in your swing, the better you'll know your swing. You'll become more aware of what your swing actually looks like. A lot of times we intend to do something with our swing, but don't because it's too fast or we can't see what it looks like. Next, it builds muscle memory. It can actually be more effective at this than hitting hundreds of balls on the range because it forces you to do it correctly; quality over quantity. Finally, it builds important muscle strength. It may not sound like a difficult drill, but you'll be surprised. Similar to planking, holding the club, almost stationary, develops your stabilizing muscles.
Try to take one or two slow swings every day throughout the winter and it'll dramatically help your golf game.
This may not come as any surprise, but do as much indoor putting as possible. Find some carpet in your home that is relatively fast and flat. Lay two golf clubs on the ground, parallel to one another, approximately 6 inches apart (a golf hole is 4.5" wide), and about 15 feet away from you. Then, putt down this path, with the goal of keeping the ball between your golf clubs without touching them. Then slowly back farther away as you get better.
Putting is a combination of aim and speed, or distance and direction. Your goal with indoor putting is not to improve your speed, or distance. That's because it's difficult to find carpet that accurately simulates an actual green's speed. Instead, focus only on your aim and direction with this drill. You want to make sure that, when spring comes, you have nearly eliminated one part of putting. That way, you only have to figure out a green's speed because your aim and direction will be so developed.