Winterize Your Golf Game!

Winterize Your Golf Game!

 I’m like most amateur golfers out there. I feel like I’m starting to figure out my swing and rolling the ball better on the short stuff. THEN WHAM! The cold weather hits and golf season is over. It’s time to put the clubs in the attic and forget about them until the flowers start to bud.

My New Year’s Resolution this year is to NOT let the cold weather ruin my golf index. With less daylight, chilly temperatures and fluffy-white precipitation, it’s easy to put the clubs away and enjoy the holiday season. But, remember that the extra weight from seasonal treats, the lack of movement and exercise, and the mental break from regular golf competition can make your first round of the Spring a nightmare! Here’s some advice from Dr. Greg Rose, a founder of the Titleist Performance Institute (a national institute for golf training).

“A golf fitness regimen starts out as something you do to lower your score. People aren’t thinking about their health at all, but it ends up making you more fit overall. It recharges you. And you play better too.”

“What matters is that people understand that even 15 or 30 minutes four times a week will reap tremendous benefits. It’s about doing it with regularity. A short, simple program, done four times a week, works far better than a two-hour workout once a week.”

Here are some things to focus on this winter that can help keep your mind, body, and technique sharp. Remember, focusing on your game now will help increase your chances for improving performance on the course and decrease your chances of potential injury.

Mind Games

Develop a pre-shot routine – The most important concept to remember, whether your lining up a drive, fairway iron, or putt, is that you should be comfortable with your shot selection, club selection, and practice swing before stepping up to the ball. Approach your shot from behind, eyeing down the target, as approaching from the side can distort your vision of the shot.

  • Write down a pre-shot routine for a drive. Now practice it 10 times in a row exactly the same.

Use mental practice – The most elite athletes in the world use mental imagery to help develop and synch the performance of their sport. The practice of imagining yourself executing at the highest level helps improve your psychology, emotions, and technique regarding a particular golf shot. Think of mental imagery as weight lifting for your mind.

  • Picture the first hole of the course you play most often. Now close your eyes and imagine hitting the perfect drive. Mentally go through your pre-shot routine, feel the swing, the follow-thru, and execute the shot. Now repeat 5 times.
  • Try repeating while visualizing yourself on TV. Can you complete the same imagined scenario from a 1st and 3rd person perspective?

Read some golf books – Educate yourself on golf history. Read about the fundamentals of the game from some of the greats.

  1. Ben Hogan: Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
  2. Harvey Penick: Little Red Book
  3. John Feinstein: A Good Walk Spoiled
  4. Golf for Dummies

Physical Training/Golf Specific Exercise

Cardiovascular endurance – Improves your body’s capacity to process and deliver oxygen to your muscles. This will resist fatigue in your swing on the 18th tee.

  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity (40-60% of Heart Rate Reserve) exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical up to 5 days a week
  • Follow instructions for progression on this link.

Balance/Stability – Improve your body mechanics and transition from each phase of the swing. Try the following:

  • Single Leg Rotational Hop and Land: 20 times

Get into your regular set-up position. Shift all of your weight onto the right foot, lifting your left foot off the ground. With a slight hop, turn your body 90 degrees, with left toes and belt buckle facing your target, and land on your left knee with slight knee bend.