Mastering Your Golf Game Through Winter

Playing Golf Through The Winter - GolfOnline UK Infographic

Playing Golf Through The Winter – GolfOnline UK Infographic

Mastering Your Golf Game Through Winter

Improving your golf game through the winter season can be tricky but with the help of some tips, indoor drills and sports tech products, golfers around the world can set new golfing performance goals and achieve them before spring 2016 arrives. Take a look at the ‘Playing Golf Through The Winter’ infographic shared with the Sports Techie community blog by GolfOnline UK for our readers and followers to reference over the coming months. Cold weather gear, indoor practice and exercise tips are just a few ways a golfer can improve their skill sets. Training the mental side of your game to handle cold weather conditions is another way to improve your scores before actually playing. Using sports technology solutions and tools are my favorite method for improving golf shots. Practice, practice, practice, then come summer time, watch your off-season routine pay dividends during in-season golf play.

Playing Golf Through The Winter
Snow, ice and wind may not stop the postman but it can cause golfers to stop playing while waiting for summer sun and fun. Those in the northern hemisphere around the world entering the winter season need to find ways to work on improving golf mechanics, fitness and visualization skills. Keeping your handicap from dropping from December onward is paramount for hardcore and casual golfers alike.

Playing Golf Through The Winter
Playing Golf Through The Winter by GolfOnline.

Golf Tips
Stay warm by layering up with tech infused apparel, shoes and hats. Find the right pair of gloves to keep your hands warm on even the most frigid of days. Science indicates that playing with lower compression golf balls is best for winter time play. The ball will not fly as far when the temperature drops by as much as seven yards shorter when striking a driver in 50 F / 10 C versus 90 F / 32 C temperatures so consider hitting an extra club to make up for the drop in distance. Finally, something you make not consider but is important to note, brain activity and emotions are harder to regulate at 50F / 10 C so work on self control and better decision making when your head is cold.

Indoor Drills
Face it, instructors can ask their students to perform some crazy looking drills with the idea that muscle memory and fundamentals are best trained by feel rather than how it looks. The Whoosh drill is one of those drills because to help add power to drives, the golfer is asked to turn the club upside down, holding the club shaft below the clubhead and swing. As you arc the swing, listen for the swoosh sound signifying increased velocity and power. To improve your form, slide a club through your shirt and notice if the pole is pointing towards your foot during your swing.

Chipping
Practicing the chip shot requires enough space, careful execution and the elimination of flight path breakables inside your house. Use a towel or strip of turf as the target and hit five chips that all need to land on the material and stay put. When you master five for five, it is time to downsize the towel and use a smaller one.

Putting
Those of you that golf know how important the putting game is to overall scores. Hitting the perfect driver, followed by some amazing chips and wedge shots can be all for naught if you miss easy putts or don’t manage the green. One idea is to focus on the putter sweet spot by placing elastic wraps around it so when you practice indoor putting, avoid hitting the wraps and focus on just the sweet spot area. Placing a coin of the carpet, hard floor or putting mat will help avoid topping the ball. Use a putter to slide the coin across the surface which in theory helps keep the putter head level with the ball plane.

Train Your Brain
No matter where you practice over the winter, visualization skills are important to conduct and free of charge when compared to the actual costs of playing bad rounds of golf that can be very expensive to waste. Practice your pre-shot routine while at the work office or in your bedroom before sleep. I am a big fan of watching sports on TV in order to learn the game. Pay attention to each professional golfer’s swing mechanic and course management skills then replicate the movements and decision making on your own time.

Video
I have been around the sports video industry for 25 years and recommend filming your swing whenever possible using software, cameras and even smartphones to record a wide variety of swings. The Hudl Technique Golf App, Dartfish and other software applications such as Mobicoach and Feedback allow users to have the ability to synchronize videos. This feature is useful for comparing your swing with those of select PGA Tour pros like Rory McIIroy, or your very own swing recorded during a different time. Videotaping works well when injuries are a factor because they show problem areas that need fixing or highlight mechanics performed well before a recent knee or shoulder injury. Analyzing the swing plane, club face and speed are just a few revelations video can bring forth.

Exercises
Improving core strength, flexibility and cardio in the off-season are paramount for all athletes but especially golfers. Using a rowing machine improves swing power by offering a balanced upper and lower body workout that can also supply targeted heart rate fitness when used together with a heart monitor. The lats, triceps and deltoids will increase in strength with each row translating into greater driving distances and more stamina. The fact that sit-ups, push-ups and stomach crunches are free and can work as well as weights is incentive enough to get on the program for golf. Running keeps a golfer in shape and gets your legs ready to carry your own bags over a long 18-hole course or 72-hole weekend next year.

Driving Range
The driving range may become your second home over winter so optimizing your sessions is crucial for improvement each day, week and month. Be sure to practice with all your clubs by mixing up each bucket of range balls. Perhaps one day you hit half the balls with your drivers, then the next week switch it up and chip half the range balls, followed by another practice session where the sole focus is working on the putting green. Practice at the driving range as if you are playing at a favorite public course or private country club, making each shot count as if making the cut depended on it. Some ranges offer golf technologies that track each shot and tell you each shots exact distant, shot shape and direction.

Simulator
Finally, home is where the heart is and the place to fine tune driving, chipping and putting strokes. Either a commercial indoor simulator or a residential home simulator will suffice for interactive, life-like rounds of golf on preferred courses anywhere on the planet. Simulators feature tech that can measure force, direction, lift and spin of each shot much like a golf coach would do in person. The OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator operates on Windows or Mac and has a retail cost of around $500. Playing Pebble Beach, St. Andrews or Augusta National can be yours with these realistic sims.

Golf Digest Live App

GolfLogix GPS, Club Tracking and Golf Digest Personalized Content Create the Ultimate Golf App, Golf Digest Live

Sports Techie, anyone that says playing golf is not mental needs to watch Tiger Woods the last several years struggle to get back to the championship level of the past when trying to overcome back and other body part injuries. The golf yips have him and then some.

Use this El Nino winter to stay inside and train the brain, master shot mechanics and also to get into fantastic playing shape so the next time you travel to a golf course for a vacation, business meeting or recreation, your handicap is lower than the year before without that much extra effort if you do all the activities in this 2015 GolfOnline Infographic.

I hope Christmas and the holidays are good to the golfer inside of you.

See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.

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