There is no bigger enemy to a golfer than Mother Nature. From 50 MPH winds like the Farmers Insurance Open saw last Sunday or rain ruining a tee time, weather can certainly put a damper on a golfer’s life, but that’s only if you let it.
Entrepreneur Jim Rohn has a famous quote that applies directly to golfers:
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
The same goes for the winter months. While most amateur golfers use the cold weather as an unofficial offseason, it’s actually the perfect opportunity to improve your golf game.
You only get three months of playing time in the summer, so rather than wasting the limited time you have to figure things out, do it in the “offseason.” Get a leg up while the competition is sleeping on winter.
If you do nothing else while cooped indoors this winter, the least you can do is set goals for yourself. Identify areas of weakness in your game and work to make them a strong suit. It’s hard enough trying to get better in this difficult game, so make things easier with a sense of direction.
Create an result and process oriented goal. A result goal would be something specific like scoring: break 100, 90, or 80. Other examples would be trying to go a whole round without making a double bogey or three putt. These goals are out of our direct control.
A process goal examples would be having a specific routine before every shot, practicing an hour once a week, or making sure to have positive body language your entire time on the course. These goals are within our control. Focus on the process and the results will come.
Setting goals gives a sense of motivation for human beings, so motivate yourself to get better in the new year by identifying what’s important to your golf game. Get rid of the distractions.
Practice When Possible
Just because there are subfreezing temperatures outside doesn’t mean you can’t be practicing inside. There are plenty of ways to get reps in despite winter weather.
One of the most important parts of golf is the short game. Luckily, this is something that’s very accessible even to the most beginner of golfers.
Grab your putter, a few golf balls and a plastic cup for the hole. Use it as an opportunity to get comfortable with your putting stroke so you’re ready to go for the first round of the season. Practice five footers so you build confidence for when it really counts.
Another way to practice is to take advantage of indoor facilities scattered around the city, including MY CHICAGO GOLF. Scheduling a session with a simulator once every other week throughout the winter will keep your game sharp, while your opponents rust away.
Hold a Golf Club
Something as simple as holding a golf club can do wonders for one’s confidence. Keep the feeling fresh in your mind throughout the cold months.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garage or backyard, get out there and get some swings in. Whether you realize it or not, this easy task can keep a golfer’s muscle memory on point.
Take Hank Haney's advice of making "100 swings per day". You don't need to hit a ball and it will only take you 5 minutes.
The winter doesn’t have to be a sad time in a golfer’s life. Like Jim Rohn said, “You can change yourself,” so change your perspective and look at the cold weather as a blessing. It’s the perfect opportunity to pinpoint the areas your game that need improvement and take action to improve them. Don’t sleep on winter.