Let's face it, how many of you play golf in the winter and how many of you relegate your clubs to the garage for 6 months? Golf is deemed a summer game, and rightfully so in many respects. The smell of fresh cut grass, bone dry fairways and greens that run true are more possible during favourable summer conditions where there is little need for a skin tight layer with large mittens ensuring your hands don't get drenched or gain frost bite.
But I am here to tell you that you will get a HUGE amount of benefit from continuing to play during the winter months which will help you kick start your golfing season in 2017 as opposed to waiting until July to find your golf swing again after a hefty lay off only to realise half the season has already gone and passed you by.
If you ensure you are wearing the correct clothing, the benefits you will gain from continuing to hit balls during the winter period is substantial.
It was Nick Faldo who once said he practises on Christmas Day because he can gain an advantage over his competition by doing so as no one else will be hitting balls on December the 25th! I'm not suggesting you put down your beers and leave the Turkey in the oven to do that but feel free to do so.
Here are my top tips to get you out and motivated to want to practise during the winter season:
- GO TO THE RANGE WITH FRIENDS. This is a fairly obvious point but one I feel is the most important. We need that motivation to want to get out and practise when the weathers cold. We get home from work after a long and cold day, feel the warmth of the heating and decide it's a better option than hitting balls alone which feels like a chore. It definitely wont feel like a chore when you are having fun and competing with your mates on the driving range. Hit balls to a target, closest to the pin/target, who can hit it further, who hits the lowest shot, who hits the highest shot and so on. Compete with each other, offer advice and, most of all, have fun with the interaction. You will soon get warmed up with the interaction and fun you will have by testing each others skills.
- TEST YOURSELF. No, this is not a self examination as such, this is competing with yourself. If your friends can't make it to the range then challenge yourself........... hit it low with a short iron, high with a long iron, curve the ball, test the contact using foot spray on the club to see where you make contact. Plenty of ways to enhance your motivation and increase skill set as opposed to aimlessly hitting balls to the wide area the driving range is situated.
- TAKE A LESSON OR TWO AND WORK ON YOUR SWING. Admit it, you've had a good season and you were too scared to take a lesson because you felt it would make you a worse golfer and therefore break your pattern of good Golf? Don't panic, you aren't the only one to think like that, and that's why taking a lesson or two during the winter period is a good thing. There is a powerful theory out there that you have to get worse before you get better. This is not strictly true. Yes, sometimes it does happen, as soon as we make a swing change the results can become massively variable owing to the differing demands put on the club and body positions and therefore the sequencing of the swing can be lost......... but only for a matter of a few shots. This is why I ALWAYS say to players, whenever they make a change to NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BALL. The result of the golf shot should not be the issue to begin with when making a change. The main focal point should be the process of making that change and what we have been told to do to try and improve the ball flight. And that is why changing an element of the swing during the winter time is the best period to do so. Why? Because we have less of a care about the results during the winter. There are far fewer (if any) competitions and golf on the course is rare, so we are less concerned about the results and therefore more likely to be able to embed the changes to our swing. WE ARE FAR LESS LIKELY TO COMMIT TO A SWING CHANGE IF WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE INITIAL RESULTING BALL FLIGHT.
A good pro will ensure it takes no more than a dozen balls to enable that ball flight to be better but your role of a golfer to help implement these changes must be to accept the initial ball flight, because if you try and correct that flight, all hell will break loose and the shots can then go anywhere!
Try these tips when winter golfing. As long as you have all the layers on you need you will have a lot of fun out there.