Each season brings it’s very own opportunities and benefits and the winter is no different. From a golf perspective it’s the ideal time to develop and work on your game ready for the spring and summer season ahead. The best players in the world will utilise the off season period to work on developing their game.
Seeking professional guidance can allow the process to feel as productive, and most importantly, enjoyable as possible.
Winter golf also provides the opportunity of getting out into nature, getting some fresh air and exercise during a time where we may be more inclined to stay indoors! Providing we are dressed accordingly, not only is it beneficial to keep things ticking over ready for the spring season ahead, but it can be great from both a mental and physical well-being perspective. It’s often a bit like heading to the gym or a run, once you’ve made it out of the front door and committed to it, it’s nearly always worth while and you’re glad you’ve made the decision to do so, whether that’s a session on the driving range, a spot of short game practice or 9 holes on the course. There is of course also options of indoor simulators and studios which offer a chance to work on your game whilst utilising modern technology without having to brave the elements and where golf courses may be closed.
- Top winter tips:
Developing your game
- When working on your game from a technique perspective, having the opportunity to develop any changes in an environment where there is an element of repetition and where there is no sense of perceived consequence to the outcome of the shot, i.e. a driving range or practice area, offers a greater opportunity to trust the process and develop the changes. This in turn can increase the chances of gaining positive results. Ideally the golf course is where we want to be ‘playing’ the game and is much more of a target orientated process rather than being consumed with a technical / mechanical thought process. At times it can feel frustrating if we try to make immediate changes on the golf course, we intellectually know what to work on but when we only have one shot at it we want to hang on to what we trust which will generally be the old pattern of movement or habit. We then feel stuck between the two, frustrated and more tempted to revert back to the old habit. With certain technical changes it can be a more fruitful process developing these in an environment where we can trust the new feelings a little more, where we feel less pressure surrounding the outcome of the shot. Often it is the process of how we work on any changes to our game, not solely what those changes are, that can make it feel more enjoyable, successful and productive.
- Little and often can be more beneficial than longer, sporadic practice sessions, focussing on quality rather than quantity, especially when it’s on the chilly side! Warm up and start with short swings and pitching, build up to a fuller motion and longer clubs from there. Avoid hitting too many balls with the distance clubs, i.e. driver, as we can begin to lose a little rhythm and timing, save this for the last half a dozen or so balls towards the end of the session.
- Keep it fun and focussed. – If working on something technical, spend a period of the session focussed in this area with a shorter iron, i.e. a 7, 8 or 9 iron, to a set target. Once this feels more consistent and comfortable start to vary your targets and clubs, this adds variety to a session and starts to bridge the gap between the driving range and the golf course. Timing is key here, don’t feel as though there is an urgent rush to reach this point.
- The cold air and soft ground mean the ball will not travel as far during the winter as in the summer conditions and the golf course will play quite differently. Course management and club selection can be key, certain tee shots may play differently with regards to which hazards may or may not be in play. When deciding which club to take it is often worth taking a little more than usual, this can be up to 2 or 3 clubs more at least, additional weather elements such as a strong breeze may also impact this further. The ball will not run as much when it lands so you may need to picture your landing area being closer to the flag when hitting shots into the green, particularly when using irons with more loft.
- There is nothing worse than losing sensation in your hands when they get really cold! Handwarmers are great in the winter, they cost around £1 or £2 and can be bought in most outdoors shops, pro shops or on Amazon. Once shaken they stay warm for around 5 hours. Pop them in your pocket or your gloves and they work a treat!
So grab a few extra layers and your finest woolly hat, seize the opportunity, grab the winter by the horns and and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the spring!