I'm looking out my window here in Franklin, Indiana, on a December Sunday morning and I see a dusting of snow on top of a sheet of ice. There's a cardinal bouncing about on the ground nibbling at the cherries that have fallen off of the tree outside my office. The Hoosier State has had several mornings this week with low temperatures in the single digits. The forecast is for 2-4 inches of snow later today and next week will feature low temperatures near zero.
Golf in this part of America is over, right? Not so fast, my friend!
For the snowbirds in this country, the next few months offer a tremendous opportunity to improve their golf games heading into the next season. The months of December, January and February can be very productive -- if you follow a few basic strategies.
Join a fitness center.
You can typically get a reasonable monthly membership at a facility that has a walking track, treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines and a swimming pool. Find an aerobic activity that will increase your leg strength and build cardiovascular endurance. Do this a minimum of 45 minutes a day, 4-5 times per week. By enhancing your physical stamina and strengthening your legs, you will help power your golf swing.
Hire a personal trainer.
This person can familiarize you with the weightlifting machines that you will find in every health club or community center. When you try your own routine you may over-lift and risk possible injury. A trainer will tailor a program to the golf muscle group. This will help your increase strength and improve your flexibility. Plus, having a trainer will make you feel obligated to show up for your next workout.
Take a golf club to the gym.
Most workout centers have lots of mirrors. Take a club with you and face the mirror. This will give you a chance to do a self-assessment of your posture and club position.
Strengthen your hands. Pick up a couple of small rubber balls or a set of hand grips. You can work with these as you watch TV at night. Use them to increase the strength in your hands and wrists. You will be amazed at how effective this can be over a period of a few months. And it will make eating popcorn impossible because your hands are filled with something else!
Keep a golf club in your den or office.
Pick it up every day and give it a few good swings. Take it a step further and wrap a piece of paper around the grip. When you grab the club, use a light grip so the paper doesn’t make a crinkling sound. This will help ease the tension that can originate in the hands and move up to the shoulders. You can also use a weighted club and swing it every day to improve strength and increase your club head speed.
Take indoor golf lessons.
There are lots of indoor teaching areas located around the country. Many golfers will find PGA professionals who are offering attractive off-season lesson packages. This is a great way to make some much needed changes in your swing over a period of months. Muscle memory ultimately takes over and you could find yourself hitting the way you’ve always wanted to with winter golf lessons.
It's no secret: the better we play, the more we enjoy golf. By developing a good, solid winter fitness program designed to help your golf game, you will also be giving yourself and the people who care for you one of the best gifts of all this year!