Christmas is right around the corner, and for those of us in the Midwest that means our golf game is in hibernation for the next few months. Snow will be falling soon, courses will be closing and our golf clubs get stuffed into a storage bin. It's a sad time of the year, really. Luckily, there are still a few ways to help your golf game by keeping it sharp even if you aren't playing full rounds this winter. Here are five of my favorite ways to scratch the golf itch during the offseason.
Visit an indoor driving range -- This may be an obvious option, but you'd be surprised how much practicing indoors can benefit your game. There are a number of indoor golf domes and heated ranges around my hometown, allowing me to keep my golf swing loose and fluid all year. Golf domes are also a great way to keep your short game sharp, especially since anything longer than a pitching wedge will find its way into a driving range net.
Driving ranges like the new Top Golf facilities around the US are another unique way to practice even with snow on the ground. These might be a little pricey for a driving range, but the full-service bar and restaurant make up for the cost.
Hit the gym -- Another great way to keep your golf game fit and in shape is by joining a gym. I'm not suggesting that you should start popping supplement pills and chugging protein shakes; instead, doing some golf-themed workouts can pay dividends to your game in the long run. Focus on exercises that build up your back, stomach and legs to give your game a distance boost the next time you tee it up. Have you ever considered taking a yoga class?
No matter what exercise program you choose, be sure to incorporate a ton of stretching. Nothing kills a golf swing more than tension and a loss in flexibility; two bi-products that could happen after lifting weights.
Study the Game -- When was the last time you read a golf book focused on strategy and technique? The winter is a great time to jam as much golf swing theory and short game philosophy into your noggin as possible. A quick search on Amazon.com will yield multiple titles from which to choose, so you'll have more than enough material to pass the cold winter months.
The goal with this season-long study session is not to memorize multiple swing philosophies. Instead, use this time to introduce yourself to different techniques, methods and approaches to your game.
Perfect Your Putting Stroke -- There isn't a club in your bag you will hit more often than your putter. The best part? You don't need to be outside to practice your stroke!
There a number of indoor putting greens you can purchase to practice at home, but you can accomplish the same thing by finding some shallow carpet and throwing down an empty glass. Voila! Indoor putting green!
Take a Break, Will Ya? -- Finally, sometimes all we really need to improve our game is to stop and smell the roses. Taking a much-needed break from obsessing over our golf swing can be incredibly beneficial to the overall health of our game. No matter how you choose to scratch that golf itch this offseason, remember that moderation is the key.