Do We Have to Reinvent Golf Skills Every Year? We’re Not Bears!
By bringing up the question of keeping our golf skills sharp through the winter months, I’m thinking less of younger players, although there’s much to learn for them as well. We humans are tested by the seasons, just like every other creature on Earth, but we weren’t meant to be forced into starting over every year. Remember when you really got it going at the end of summer or early fall? That vacation with all the beautiful courses, and you started to get into the rhythm? It was warm, and you were all stretched out and psyched to score your personal best. We deserve the keep that. Our muscles aren’t supposed to turn to jelly over the snowy months. Our coordination isn’t supposed to be reset to the age of two. We’re not supposed to hit the first tee in the spring so cramped up that we’re afraid we’ll lose a limb if we swing the driver just an eentsy bit too hard.
Many people are apparently concerned with this. Go online, and we can easily find ten or twenty instant sites to help us through the winter, and remain in possession of something related to golf skills. Some require vacations to the south, but that’s not what we’re interested in. If you’re playing all the golf you can at your favorite local course before the snow hits, you’re in a sweet spot. It’s still clear, fewer people are causing congestion on the course. You can even walk, which is wonderful for keeping warm. You have figured out how to dress for warmth without causing a Michelin Man golf swing, or excruciating pain standing over a putter wrapped up in a parka. Yes, the fairway is a little soggy, the pin is stuck in a patch of green mush, but that’s all right. Today, were just keeping our skills – tomorrow, the Masters. It’s even a good time for double gloves.
Once the snow hits, and your grace period is up, you may be forced indoors. I have read about chair drills to practice driver trajectory, quarter, half and full iron shots in simulation. Personally, I have a bad history with indoor golf clubs. If there is any real swinging to be done, at any speed, almost everything in the room needs to be removed. These include televisions, mirrors, lamps, glass picture frames, large furniture, etc., and even that doesn’t guarantee complete safety. If you want to try them, the chair drills are plentiful online as well. However, this is what I’m thinking. Practice your short game mercilessly, ruthlessly, and relentlessly, and make a few extra stretches in the spring, and you could be right back where you left off. Here are two of the best indoor ideas I’ve run across to not only preserve, but sharpen the short game.
What do we primarily do when we practice putting? We look to see where the ball goes. Does that teach us how we got it there, wherever it went? One online instructor puts two phone books on the floor, a distance apart so that the putter and its intended track will barely fit in between. Bad track taking the putter back, and every address in New York City will prevent you from putting that ball square to the hole. My other favorite is folding a towel at some distance nine or ten yards away. Short distance wedges designed to land on the towel, not run up to it, is the idea. You can sharpen your distance and keep the shanks away at the same time.
We have many ways to maintain physical condition through the winter, most of it to be found in the local gym, but we don’t necessarily need one if we’re resourceful with objects at home. Go for the ones you like best, even skiing, sledding, snowball fighting…whatever. However, for your short game skills, keep folding those towels and carting those phone books around, and if you live in a very small town, maybe the library can loan you Chicago or San Francisco. Have fun this winter, and low scores in spring!