Off-Season Training For Golfers

by / Friday, 01 January 2010 / Published in News

If you live in an area where the weather is good enough to practice and play all year round, you are one of the fortunate golfers. However, many golfers in the country live in severe winter climates and are unable to go to the driving range or play golf for months. If you are one of these golfers, you need to be creative with off-season practice so you can start next season in mid-summer form. The off-season months are the perfect time to improve a few neglected areas of your game including golf fitness, mental game skills, nutrition, and putting practice. At the same time, you should have a system to keep your golf swing tuned up. Here are a few tips for feeling confident with your game after the snow melts.

Practice in Your Mind

If you cannot get to the range in the winter months, another option is to practice your swing mentally. Mental practice is not new. Good golfers use it all the time to prepare for a round of golf, review their game plan, or feel the ideal golf swing before each shot. You can rehearse your golf swing both visually and kinaesthetically during the off-season to help you keep the rust away and tune up your mind’s eye for golf. The most effective form of visualisation utilises all of your senses. In a quiet room with no distractions, spend 5 minutes a day rehearsing your swing in your mind from a first-person internal perspective (just like you are actually playing). As you visualise your swing, you should see it, feel it, and hear the sound at impact.

Keep Your Swing Tuned Up

There are two ways to keep your swing tuned up when the snow is covering the ground.

The first is to take regular lessons through the winter period. Not playing on the course is the perfect time to improve your technique without having to worry about the peer pressure of playing well. Improve over the winter to play well in the summer!

The second way to stayed tuned up is, in conjunction with lessons and correct technique, take 100 practice swings a day. Jack Nicklaus wrote that you should make 100 practice swings a day when you cannot make it to the driving range. Golfers tend to make a mechanically better swing with a practice swing because of the ‘hit impulse’ when a ball is present. I also recommend that you swing in front of a mirror or video camera to give you some visual feedback on how you are doing.

Become a Great Putter Indoors

It is amazing how many golfers neglect one of the most important parts of the golf game – putting! But you have no excuses in the off-season, because you will have plenty of opportunities to work on your putting indoors. All it takes is a carpet that approximates the speed of golf course greens. You can also buy a putting mat made of artificial turf that simulates the speed and feel of natural greens. This is a great time to work on your stroke path, accurate aim, and pre-putt routine because ideally you want all of these elements in putting to feel natural (and be correct) when you play golf.

Golf Fitness

During the golf season, it is harder to find the necessary time to exercise and keep in shape, especially when you are playing four to five hour rounds. The off-season is a great time to improve physical fitness, flexibility, and stamina. Beyond the benefits to your general health and wellness, a regular exercise program has many advantages for your golf game. Increased strength, better endurance, increased energy, and more flexibility are direct benefits of a regular exercise program. Improved fitness also has a secondary benefit – a better mental game. Improvements in concentration and mood often result from regular exercise.

Conclusion

Do not wait until the snow melts and the weather improves. You can do a lot to improve yourself and your golf game during the off-season. Keep the rust off by taking lessons, practicing indoors, improving your fitness, improving your mental game and get a jump on the season.

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