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Ten Tips To Improve Your Golf Game During The Winter

Updated on January 21, 2015
Lining up your game for Spring!
Lining up your game for Spring! | Source

Winter Practice Can Produce Better Scores

So, the closest thing to a golf club you've held in your hand this winter is a snow shovel?

That's OK. If you are a golfer stuck in one of the cold weather regions, there is still a way for you to work on your golf game.

Listed below are 10 tips to help you improve your game during the winter months, and have you ready when the courses open back up.

1. Get a club in your hand, duh! Check around town to see if there is an indoor driving range. It is very likely that there is a golf dome, or a heated driving range in your area. If you have access to one there is absolutely no reason for you to come out of the gate rusty this spring.

Now, understand, there is a difference in being rusty, and improved. And the steps you take will make the difference. You can either take the winter months to continue making the same old mistakes in your swing, or you can take this time to actually improve your game.

2. Take a lesson. Find a local PGA professional and set up an appointment for a lesson. Taking a lesson is no different than going to the doctor for a checkup. He/she has a trained eye that will be able to tell you the good things, and the bad things, about your golf swing. Your professional will help you map out a strategy, and what you need to do to make the improvements in your swing. A good pro is going to address all those needs, and then give you some basics that will enable you to build a solid foundation.

3. Swing speed. If you don't have/want/or can afford a pro/ then take this time to work on the things you do well in your swing.

For example, some people hit their short irons better than they do their long irons. Obviously, the shorter iron is traveling a shorter distance, so there is less room for error. But what a lot of golfers tend to do with their longer irons is over-swing. Swinging harder is not going to produce longer, or more accurate shots.

You should have the same swing speed on a 4-iron that you do on a 9-iron. You should let the loft of the 4-iron do what it is designed to do, instead of trying to over-power the ball. I am sure you are saying “I know this.” However, think you rarely act like it because of the constant overaggressive swings you make. Try swinging every club at the same speed you do when you have your eight iron in your hand. You will see more consistent results.

4. Get a grip. Winter is the perfect opportunity to work on the foundation of your golf swing. Start with making sure you have the proper grip. Many pros will tell you the grip is the most important part of the swing. That is because the hands are what connects you with the ball, and the hands play a role in manipulating the ball.

For example, a strong left hand grip on a right handed golfer will promote a hook/draw. A weaker left hand grip on a righty will promote a slice/fade.

If you decide to change your grip, you should work on it constantly until in feels natural. And that is easy to do by just gripping the club in your free time, while you are watching television or relaxing around the house. If you spend 10 to 20 minutes a day getting comfortable with your new grip, and you are already an improved golfer.

5. Mirror drills. If you were fortunate enough to take lessons you now have an understanding of where the club should be at certain points in the swing.

A mirror will allow you to see your swing, and get a better feel for what is the right position, and what is the incorrect position. Seeing your swing in the mirror will help you gain a better understanding of how the golf swing works, and more importantly, how your swing works.

Swing the club from all angles in front of the mirror. Check your posture and stance. If you are not sure you are in the proper position, find pictures of professional swings and look at how your swing compares to theirs.

6. Putting drills. You can become a better putter in the winter. Just like every other club in the bag, make sure you have a grip that you feel is comfortable with. Work on finding a good rhythm in your stroke, and then find different surfaces in your home to stroke putts on. Always aim at some kind of target. For instance, the linoleum on the kitchen floor is going to produce a much faster surface, than the carpet in the den. Working on different surfaces will help you improve your touch.

In addition, work on keeping your head still. Lots of putts are missed when golfers want to take a peek at the putt, and raise their head up early. Keep your head still until the ball is halfway to the target. Doing that will improve your putting.

7. Short game. The most overlooked part of most amateurs game is an aspect that should be the most important part of their game, and that is the short game.

When you consider that PGA Tour pros miss about 30 percent of the greens in regulation, imagine what percentage of greens amateurs miss!

An overlooked fact is 70 percent of shots during a round of golf will come within 100-yards of the target. Don't believe me? Consider, a par-72 18-hole course requires 36 putts. There are half your anticipated shots within a 100-yards before you even start the round.

Now, figure in all the missed greens and suddenly you are trying to get up and down for a par. If you have the space, get some plastic balls and hit pitch shots off the carpet. Work with your wedge, sand wedge, and what ever else you like to use around the green. Play games like trying to pitch the ball in a trash can. See how many balls you can pitch into the trash can out of 10 shots. There is no doubt the quickest way to take strokes off your game is to improve your short game.

8. Watch TV.. This is the easiest work you can do on your game during the winter. When there is a pro event on television, watch the tournament. Look for things that you see in their swings, like tempo and balance. Take note of how every swings looks the same.

Watch the Golf Channel. This network is a golfer's paradise. They will offer you all kinds of instruction, and explanations, regarding the golf swing. The danger here is getting overloaded with information. Although many concepts of golf are concrete, there are varying philosophies of how to get there. So, if a segment doesn't work for you, don't worry about it. On the flip side, when you find a segment that speaks to your game, try to implement it.

9. Use technology. In today's world a couple of clicks on the Internet will find you the swing of practically every pro golfer that has ever played. There are websites and apps that will take a video of your swing, and let you compare how your swing looks next to the best players in the world.

10. Check your equipment/Mental Practice.. If you need repairs to your clubs, now is the time to do it. Check to see if you need new grips, if the shafts are straight, and the grooves to your irons are not worn. The good thing about equipment checks during the winter is if you need to buy something new, the off-season prices are going to be as good as you will get the entire year. Another thing to do is to take your clubs to a pro shop and see if they are properly fitted. Remember, golf clubs are not one size fits all. Consider, why would a guy who stands 6-foot-5, have the same clubs as a guy who stands 5-foot-9?Finally, use your head! You hear athletes say the mental aspect of their respective sports is just as important as the physical aspects.

Golf is absolutely no different. Close your eyes and envision yourself making smooth swings that produce outstanding results. Start out by playing your favorite courses in your head. Play two or three holes a day, in your mind. Envision how you want to attack those holes. If there is a particular hole at your favorite course that gives you problems, play that hole over and over in your mind, making good swings and getting good results.

I hope you will take some of these ideas to heart. If you do, you will certainly be a better player next season. In the meantime, stay warm!


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