This has not been the best winter for … well, just about anything involving physical activity. It’s been too warm to ski, too sloppy to run or bike, and occasionally even too cold to walk.
For golfers who don’t have the luxury of dashing somewhere warm for several weeks, this can lead to rust forming on your game.
If you fall into that category, here are five tips aimed at knocking off some of the rust in advance of what we all hope will be an early start to golf season in Central Wisconsin.
Get Moving and Boost Physical Activity
After months of reduced activity, it’s time to get your body back in the swing of things — literally.
Luckily, getting back in the swing doesn’t mean running five miles on Day 1; you can start by simply increasing your overall physical activity level.
Get a routine going that stresses variety, so you involve more muscle groups and don’t get bored. Incorporate walking, weightlifting, and general workouts into your routine.
And don’t forget to swing your clubs! Even clearing a patch of rapidly melting snow in the backyard and practicing your swing can awaken those golf muscles and get you back into the groove.
Stretch and Loosen Up
Months of inactivity can leave your body stiff and less flexible, which is less than ideal for golf. Striving for that 300-yard drive on your first swing of the season is a recipe for muscle strains and even more down time.
Instead of gripping it and ripping it right out of the box, focus on stretching and loosening up, paying particular attention to your golf muscles. Try light swings left-handed and right-handed to improve body awareness and enhance flexibility.
This will help increase your range of motion – a critical aspect of an effective golf swing.
Check the Fit of Your Clubs
It’s important to think of your clubs as an extension of your body. Make sure they’re fitted or adjusted to you. If you’re unsure about this, consult your club pro.
Once you’re sure about the fit of your clubs, hit some balls on a simulator to check your lie angles and ensure your clubs complement your swing style.
Properly fitted clubs can significantly improve your game and prevent unnecessary strain on your body.
Check Your Equipment
Speaking of equipment, now’s the time to take those clubs out of the bag and give them a good once-over. Worn-out grips can lead to mishits, and old golf balls might not travel the distance you expect.
Maintain your clubs and ensure you have a consistent stock of golf balls. By eliminating variability in your equipment, you can focus more on your game and less on gear malfunctions.
Take a Lesson (or Two)
No matter your skill level, there’s always room for improvement — and if you’re largely self-taught it’s time for some professional instruction.
Now is the perfect time to schedule some lesson time with your club pro. Focus on areas you struggled with last season.
Off-season is the perfect time to adjust your technique, so when spring arrives, you’re ready with refined skills and new strategies to tackle the course.
Work on the Mental Aspect
Golf is absolutely, totally a mental as well as a physical game. The off-season is a great time to work on your confidence and approach to the game.
Think back to last season and visualize some of the best shots you played. What did you do? How did it feel? Were you relaxed when you struck the ball? (Usually the answer is yes.) Striving to recapture the things you did that made the shot so successful can help you ingrain those positive actions.
If you spend some of the winter playing racquet sports like pickleball, focus more intently on the ball. Try to center it on the paddle every time. Don’t worry about your opponents; just focus on the ball. Working on your hand-eye coordination will pay dividends when the ball and the striking face are that much smaller.
Get a Swing Analysis
A swing analysis from Wisconsin Performance Institute can help jump-start your game.
The WPI professionals use the Noraxon motion-capture system to create a detailed breakdown of how your entire body moves during a golf swing. We can diagnose trouble spots and pain points and help you correct them, with the goal of having you hit farther and more accurately with less pain.
The WPI has specialists in golf-swing analysis ready to help you take your game to the next level … and isn’t that better than just sitting around waiting for the snow to melt?