With the winter season, not everyone has a chance to go outside to practice and play. And while this break might not be your first choice, there are still things you can improve in the off-season.
Making changes in the middle of the golf season can be difficult as they are often uncomfortable and can lead to unpredictable failures. For example, if you usually cut your golf ball and improve your grip, it will likely be uncomfortable, and if you adapt you can start hitting pulls and hooks. Your teacher will likely love this because it means you are on the right track, but it’s such a different mistake to you that it could be alarming.
So take a positive view of the off-season. Use this time out to make some of the biggest changes so you’ll be ready when the golf season starts again.
1. Improve your grip
Boring? May be. But it’s important.
Your grip not only determines what your club face will look like on impact, but also, if you hold your club correctly in your fingers, you will have safety without tension, which allows for speed and power. Every golfer is built differently and there isn’t one way to grab the club, but it is important that you relax and hang your guide arm to see what position your hand falls naturally into, so you know how yours Handle should look like. It also has to match your hip speed and desired ball flight. Let a professional show you how to hold the racket and find a grip that’s right for you.
2. Perfect your posture in the mirror
Perfect posture puts you in an athletic position to begin your swing and helps you make constant contact with the golf ball. Your posture should be the same from club to club, and bend forward from your hips so your chest is above your toes so your hands can hang just below your shoulders.
Your posture is one of the best things to work on in the off-season. Practice in a mirror and see what it looks like when you are balanced forward and your hands are really hanging. Ask yourself: where is your weight in your toes? How far are you from your hands to your thighs when your arms are hanging down? Where is your gloved hand on your shoes in relation to your laces?
We all define what we see when we are perfectly positioned for ourselves and if you can find a way to define that over time it will be a lot easier to replicate from club to club and be a lot more consistent in contact .
3. Increase your swing speed
We’d all love to keep hitting the ball. And once you have reasonably constant contact, you can train speed. Learning to swing the club faster requires a lack of tension, good fundamentals and training. One of my favorite ways to train is using the superspeed golf training system. Your light, medium, and heavy training log system really works and this would be something that would be great in the off-season. We have them at home and we use them for golfing and baseball for my son. Time is not that long and with a little focus you can learn to keep hitting the ball using this system.
4. Be flexible
When a student comes to golf lessons, I have to work with what strength and flexibility they have. Improving flexibility takes a little time and effort – which makes it a great thing to work on in the off-season. Flexibility allows for better freedom of movement as well as your ability to turn athletically. If you’re feeling constrained, the Orange Whip can be a great way to improve swing length and rotation back and through.
Another important part of having flexibility in golfing is that your hamstrings are flexible enough to allow you to maintain good posture. Simply bend from your hips and hang your arms toward the floor to loosen your hamstrings, which will allow you to properly bend from your hips and adopt an athletic golf posture.
5. Putt indoors
One of the fastest ways to lower our golf scores is to be a better putter from close range. When I was a kid, we’d putt on our carpet to an auto-return putt machine all winter. I’m sure this is one of the reasons I’ve always been a respectable putter. At the height of the golf season, throwing golf balls can be a lot more fun than dragging them over your short putts, but your winter season is the perfect time to get to work. We have a Perfect Putting Mat in our house and use it all the time, but there are many options out there.
Not only is competition fun, but practicing your putting at home is a great way to focus on the simple things that are essential to good putting.
6. Practice with alignment aids
Correct aiming and alignment can “look” wrong when it is correct. I find most right handed people tend to aim too far to the right and left handed people tend to aim too far to the left as your eyes are within the finish line for the most part. Simply place two parallel clubs on the floor with the line between them pointing at your target, practice placing them parallel to your body lines, and gazing at your intended target to train your eyes on what it looks like to aim properly. I think the most efficient way to get good aiming and alignment is to make peace so it may never look right, but just determine how far it looks to the left or right when you have your constellation into a perfect line-up.
7. Chip inside
If you’re great at small strokes around the green, you can convert an incredible number of ups and downs and get lower scores. Having a small exercise area in your home can be really fun and hopefully not cause too much indoor damage. A small chipping net and some foam balls can be a great way to learn how to properly line up, be ready to hit the carpet, and learn how to get your short game shots in the air and control the distance too, when you get back outside and on the course.
8. Upgrade your equipment
Taking the time to go to a proper club fitter or try out new clubs at an indoor dealer can really be a fun way to make sure you have the best clubs for you. We’re releasing a ClubTest issue and this can be a great way to find out what’s on the market to see which club could help your game. Taking the time to see a fitter gives you the opportunity to try all of the clubs and the knowledge of these fitters, like that of our sister company True Spec Golf, can pay off on the road.
9. Plan a trip
It’s always so exciting to have something to look forward to. Find a group of friends and plan a golf trip to end the off-season. There are so many great golf resorts in warm climates that your trip would love to host. Many of these resorts have great teachers. At the beginning of your trip, take some time for a group lesson. This will help improve your game and enjoy your time on the court. We all know that playing good golf is so much more fun.
10. Find a teacher you like
There is an amazing amount of golf lessons online. If you watch these videos blindly, I can almost promise that not only will you be incredibly confused, but that you will likely make your game worse if you try to sift through all the different information. I suggest that you find a teacher online to speak to you. Find a teacher who makes sense to you, and as you do, try to stick with that person or maybe two. Limit the voices you hear and by doing so you may find someone who can help you better understand and improve your game. I’m proud to share two free videos with my students on Amazon Prime for full swing and short play. I use it as a supplement to my lessons and while the information is very basic it is basic and hopefully will help golfers better understand why basics are so important and how they can improve their own game.
Make the most of your off-season time to make for a more comfortable golf season. Working on the little details that lead to big improvements, like setup and short play, and flexibility and speed when you have free time, pays off immensely in lower scores and more fun.