There Is No Off Season
Winter is here, so most golfers are hanging up their sticks until spring. The problem is, you can’t expect next year to be your best ever if you’re taking three or four months off. In this lesson, I’m going to discuss a number of ways you can beat the winter blues and hit 2017 running.
If you’re one of the lucky few who gets to golf twelve months a year, you can apply these ideas to get some practice done indoors or when time and space are limited.
There are three potential hurdles to working on your full swing indoors. I’ll address each one individually with suggestions for training aids and ways to work around them.
Problem #1: No Room to Make a Swing
This is the most common issue, since most ceilings are too low to accommodate an adult swinging a golf club. Even if you have the ceiling height, it’s rare to have the square footage needed to swing without hitting something. Here are some workarounds.
Golf Swing Right Now – This training aid is much shorter than a standard club, allowing you to swing it inside. It also has a flexible shaft that helps you to build a nice transition and good sequencing. Pair it with Tour Tempo for a really powerful combination.
Tour Striker Educator – Even if you can’t make a full speed swing, you can attach the Educator to a wedge and work on having your desired wrist angles and arm positions. What I love about the Educator is that it works to fix a wide variety of swing flaws.
Problem #2: No Way to Hit a Ball
If you have high ceilings and lots of floor space, you may be able to swing a club, but hitting a ball may result in a broken window. Here are some training aids that you can use without damaging your home.
Flat-Tee – These are designed to be used on the course, but they’re also one of the best indoor training aids I’ve used. With a small bagful, you can set up drills to control your low point and strike location (heel/toe). Stack three or four and try to pick one off at a time. Set them up just outside the heel and toe of the club and swing through without disturbing them. For even more ideas like these, you can check out Adam Young’s excellent The Strike Plan.
Super Speed – One of the most beneficial things you can do in the off-season is gain club head speed. Super Speed training clubs are one of the best ways to do that. Use the code “Saternus” at checkout to get 5% off your order.
Tour Striker Smart Ball: Another one of my favorites from Tour Striker, the Smart Ball allows you to get feedback on your swing without hitting a ball.
Problem #3: Hitting Into a Net
For people in the first two groups this hardly seems like a problem, but indoor practice doesn’t give you the feedback of a range. Here are some ways to make hitting off a mat into a net more beneficial. Again, the training aids mentioned above will also work well if you’re in this group.
Flat-Tee – Incorporate a golf ball into some of the drills mentioned above to get great feedback on your swing. You can also use Flat Tees when hitting off mats to simulate hitting off a short tee.
Tee Claw – One of the worst parts of hitting off mats is being stuck with rubber tees. They’re never the right height, and changing them is a pain in a rear. Tee Claw allows you to use the tees you actually use on the course which makes your practice more realistic.
Finally, I strongly recommend Adam Young’s The Strike Plan. This set of video lessons is full of drills that will improve your ball striking, and many don’t require you to see ball flight to be effective.
If your short game needs attention, many of the concepts and training aids mentioned above will work. In particular, I would suggest working with Flat-Tee to control low point and strike quality, with a ball or without. I also recommend Tour Tempo and the Tour Striker Educator.
Two other training aids that have applications for putting are Tour Tempo and the Tour Striker Educator (is it any wonder why they’re both “Training Aids That Work”?)
The Mental Game
The final, and most overlooked, way to practice in the off season is to work on your mental game. This can take many forms, but I’ll suggest two:
Bob Rotella Books – The books by Dr. Rotella are some quick, easy reads that I’ve found very helpful. They’re the type of books that can be easily summarized, but the value is in reading the message over and over in different contexts with varying examples.
Play golf in your mind. It costs nothing, space isn’t an issue, and the pace of play is phenomenal. Pick a course you’re very familiar with – the more vivid your imagination, the more impactful this will be. Use this as a chance to embed positive images and to think through the course management decisions you normally face on the course.
Get to It!
I hope you find these suggestions to be helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions about finding ways to practice in the off-season, please post them below.