It seems the Buffalo winter has finally arrived. Time to stow away the golf clubs and await the melt down. Just because the ground is covered with snow doesn’t mean we can’t improve our golf game. There remains a handful of things that we can be working on to start next season off on the right foot.
Following the long, arduous Buffalo winter we all want our first outing to be successful. None of us want to shoot in the 100’s for the first five rounds of the year after patiently waiting for the snow to melt. How can you prevent an early season melt down? Many of us think that trudging through the snow and going to the golf dome once a month will help. Ask yourself; is that really the most effective winter option to improve my game?
In my opinion, absolutely not. Professional athletes don’t actually play their respective sport when their seasons are finished. These players work on the important pieces of the game, the fundamentals. Off-season golf conditioning should focus around three important phases: mobility, strength, and balance. By focusing on the physical aspect of the game, lower scores will likely follow. There is no better time to work on these phases of golf then winter time!
Maintaining or improving your overall flexibility is key to unlocking your golf swing. The area’s to focus on are the hips and upper back. Flexibility restrictions in these areas make “rotating” through your swing challenging. Tight hips will force you to sway back and forth. That can easily be the difference between a high draw down the middle and a slice OB right. By focusing on your flexibility you can improve power AND accuracy.
You may think; more strength equals more power and more distance. However, not all strength gains are created equal. Targeting the gluteals and core muscles will provide the most “bang for your buck.” A strong core will provide the stable and powerful base needed to control the club. Without hip and core strength you are opening the door for uncontrolled movements. So take these next few months to improve your strength. Farther ball flight, increased club head speed, and more power is in your future.
The last essential ingredient to off-season training is balance. With the exception of Bubba Watson, every golfer keeps their feet on the ground in a well-balanced position during swing. Maintaining good balance and “using the ground” will provide a sturdy base of support during swing. Good balances allows for optimal utilization of the mobility and strength. Think about it; swinging and rotating at 70-90mph while staying relatively stationary is no simple task. Staying balanced throughout your swing is crucial for accuracy. Are your feet in the same spot at the end of your swing? If not, your balance may not be up to par (pun intended). Poor balance will alter your swing plane leading to poor ball striking and inaccurate shot making.
My advice is to enjoy and embrace golf’s off-season. If you are serious about improving as a player, start with incorporating simple exercises to improve your overall balance, strength, and mobility. The effects will be profound. I can almost guarantee you will find yourselves shooting lower scores earlier into the season with the appropriate offseason routine.