While Canadians are beginning to celebrate the holiday season – perhaps in a way they’ve never done in the past – December means there will be a hearty stretch of time before the majority of golfers in the country can tee it up again on their home courses.
That doesn’t mean you can’t keep working on your game through the wintertime, however. In fact, some of the key areas of your game that may have been neglected through the golf season itself could be focused on through the coming months.
Many places across the country boast indoor driving ranges – whether virtual or under a sports dome. Hitting balls inside of a sports dome through the winter allows golfers to have take full swings with their clubs and get at least a little bit of a trajectory view. Many have distances of at least 80-100 yards.
With the advancements in technology, both public golf courses and private facilities across the country are using varying levels of simulators to help golfers’ keep their swings until spring. From robust TrackMan facilities to high-definition simulators installed in bars and restaurants (where open), there are a lot of easy ways – some of those simulator facilities even host leagues all winter long – to keep your body moving and in golf shape even as the blustery winter cold blows across the country.
However, just because the wintertime is upon so many of us, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay in golf shape before things melt away come spring.
Here are some quick tips to help you get through this winter and be ready to have your best year yet on the course in 2021.
Use a weighted club.
Swinging a super-heavy club is an idyllic way to groove some muscle memory that can be repeatable and reliable come springtime. A few minutes a day using a weighted club (either in your home, safely, or outside if you can) will do wonders for your mechanics. You’ll feel those enhanced mechanics as you develop a routine, and if you’ve been working from home for months, a couple minutes a day of swinging a heavy club will be good for stretching, too.
Hit the sim.
As discussed earlier, heading to an indoor simulator will allow you to use every club in your bag through the wintertime. Spend a few minutes online looking to see what’s available in your area. Almost every major city across the country has public simulators – whether at a golf course itself or in a private facility – and depending on where you live and what’s open these days, you might even be able to join up with some fellow wintertime hackers looking to play a few digital rounds over the coming months. Technology has increased dramatically in recent years, allowing you to really take stock in true distances, angles, and launch numbers before applying it to the course in 2021.
Hit the gym.
For as many funny moments Bryson DeChambeau provided us in 2020 with respect to protein shakes and photo opportunities of his added muscle there are most certainly some good reasons for his bulk-up. DeChambeau became one of the most dominant golfers on the planet during the second half of 2020, even notching his first major championship in the process. So what can we learn from DeChambeau? The biggest thing is that the power game is not going anywhere – in fact, it’s probably becoming even more important. See a trainer in your area that has experience working with golfers or athletes, or take to the Internet to find an exercise program that works for you.
“You will spend eight hours on a range trying to hit a draw or fade but you won’t spend 20 minutes on your body? If you spend 20 minutes a day on your body that draw or fade is going to be easier to hit,” said Kolby Tullier, a performance coach to golf’s biggest names based out of Jupiter, Fla.
Stretch it out.
As important as movement is, smart movement is even more important to growing your abilities in the off-season. You should learn to love yoga. The practice will help golfers to maintain and build core strength while also help with range of motion. Not only that, but the mental benefits of yoga – the calming nature of extended and deep breathing – has been proven to help golfers as well. Classes are available in various cities across the country (that allow for in-person sessions) but plenty of free videos exist online, too.
Use a mirror.
If you don’t have the opportunity to make some full swings, then try to at least make slow, controlled motions using a full-length mirror – this, according to one of the top instructors in the world. Blake Cathey, who is the lead instructor at the iconic Kiawah Island Golf Resort, tells Forbes that golfers in the off-season can make “several slow motion swings while maintaining your balance. Try to correlate what you’re feeling with what you see in the mirror and make adjustments accordingly.” Practice your action for a couple of minutes a few times a week.
Roll some putts.
Perhaps you live in an apartment or are just limited on space – one thing you can buy that won’t be too cumbersome is a putting mat. Or, frankly, you can just roll a few on your carpet.
Working on your stroke is the easiest way to shave shots when it’s time to return to the course in 2021.
Grow your knowledge.
Books, podcasts, videos, magazines, and blogs – there is no shortage of information out there on golf. Whether you’re hoping to become mentally stronger, looking to tweak your grip, shave a few shots around the green, or wonder how the pros do what they do, it’s easy to find all kinds of information online this off-season. Don’t get bogged down by the quantity and just focus on exactly what your goals and objectives are and then tuck in.