Now that winter is just around the corner for us in the northern hemisphere, what better time to give you some tips on winter golf. For those of you who are lucky enough to be heading into Summer right now then be sure to bookmark this post ready for next year when I’ll be the one enjoying the sunshine. 🙂
For the vast majority of my readers it may be time to give the course a break until the weather improves, but that’s the worst thing you could do for your game! Golf is a much simpler game when you’ve committed your movements (swing, putting technique, grip, setup) to muscle memory, but it takes a continued effort to be able to sustain it.
If you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to take such a long time out without at least practising your swing, grip, stance, or putting. Your game will just fall apart and you’ll be losing the work you’ve done during the months before. So it’s important that you practice golf at home during the coming months, or better yet, get some winter golf practice in on the course!
How to Practice Golf at Home During the Winter
Some great tips for keeping your muscle memory in check during these winter months include:
All great swings start off with the perfect grip. Learning the best grip can often be uncomfortable. The easiest way I find for students to learn the proper grip is to watch their favourite TV show. No not just that! Take a practice club in hand preferably one with a training grip and relax. Keep hold of the club all the way through your show (releasing the club on ad breaks and gripping when the show comes back on), this will teach your sub conscious how to properly grip the club. If you’ve watched the movie Inception with Leonardo Di Caprio you’ll understand just how powerful your sub conscious can be! If you can do things without thinking much on the golf course then you’ve won!
A Solid Setup
A proper setup position takes a certain amount of effort. If you’ve been out of action for a few months then your body will want to setup differently. So, to counteract this I recommend buying a full length mirror if you haven’t already got one. You can pick them up for really cheap at home depot, eBay, Amazon etc.
Once you have your mirror get someone to tape the mirror with the angle of your spine, and hip and knee flex. Then during the next few months practice the correct setup at every opportunity. Tip: Place the mirror in an area you always pass, don’t stick it in a room you hardly ever go into. That way you’ll always be tempted to test your setup when pass the mirror.
Maintaining a Full Swing Motion
The full swing requires a coiling and uncoiling of the body, which can be difficult after taking a few months out. So to be sure you’re body is coiling and uncoiling correctly, you’re going to have to practice the golf swing at home. To do this simply take one of your clubs and place it on the top of your back whilst holding each end. The take your correct setup position and coil your shoulders back in a circular clockwise motion, resisting any hip turn. Once your body is tightly wound release it by turning your lower body back in a counter clockwise motion. If you continue to do this drill you’re body will be finely tuned ready for the start of the season.
Your Short Game
This as your know is one of the more important parts of your game. If you take a few months off you’re going to ruin any feel you have around the greens. So you really must stay on top of this to maintain/improve your touch on and around the greens.
Putting: You really should invest in a good putting station first of all. They’re inexpensive and they provide a great method of practice for your putting. There’s a good range of devices out there, but the best ones include a putting mat as well as practice holes. These are especially useful if you don’t have an ideal putting surface. Practice with it as often as you can. Have competitions with yourself and be sure to test yourself on a variety of different putting distances.
Chipping: Using the same putting station you should also practice your chipping stroke. If you don’t have the surface in the house to be able to chip off of, find a 1×1 piece of thicker carpet. Same as with putting you should vary your distance as much as you can.
Pitching: This isn’t always possible for most people to practice this shot in the house. But if you have the room grab a laundry basket and try to pitch into that. It goes without saying, try not to break anything I don’t want to get a bill for any broken TV’s 🙂 Alternatively you can pitch into a washing machine/dryer, this is how Rory Mcilroy perfected his game at a young age. Video below:
Tips for Playing Golf in the Winter
If your planning on taking time out during the colder months, the winter golf tips above are essential. But if you plan on gritting your teeth and getting out there, (which I recommend) then there are a few winter golf drills that will help your game go much smoother out on the course.
Tips for Driving in Snow, Wind, and Rain
Alignment: If your course is using mats to preserve the tee box never assume it’s perfectly placed for a tee shot. Use a proper pre-shot routine to be sure you’re lined up correctly for your tee shot.
Solid base: During winter life is going to get windy on the course. Try widening your stance to help with stability and keep the lower half of your body as quiet as possible.
Consistency: You’ll get less run along the ground during winter, so instead of hitting a driver off the tee, try using a fairway wood, you won’t lose much distance that way.
Be realistic: A tip for year round games but if you land badly, think about your lie in terms of traffic lights. Green is attack, yellow is layup, and red is knock out sideways. Pay no attention to where the hole is, just concentrate on the lie!
Mud ball: Take more club than usual and hit easy reducing the spin off the ball. In wet weather conditions getting spin can be suicide.
Get it rolling: Use a rescue club or wood around the temporary greens if necessary, just putt as you usually would.
Keep it low: The bump and run shot takes the risk out of playing around the greens. Just chip it low and watch it roll to the hole.
Wet sand: If you don’t have a lob wedge it may be time to invest in one. Getting out of wet sand is a hassle but a LW makes things a lot easier.
Getting ready for the new season ahead and to continue on form throughout the off-season just takes a little ingenuity and hard work. Winter doesn’t mean you have to pack up your clubs, you just need to change your approach and put in the practice. Intelligence is the ability to change and adapt, so make sure you do the same, don’t be stupid!
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