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November 5, 2019

I have always said that there is no "off-season" for golfers. What I am referring to is that the cold weather months are the absolute best time to work on your game, take lessons, upgrade equipment, get stronger and more flexible, and generally just improve overall. First of all, with the colder weather and less tournament play, you should have plenty of time for practice. If you normally play twice a week, you should now have 8-10 hours freed up to hit balls, have golf specific workouts, and practice the lesson from the previous week. I see much faster results in students over the winter compared to summer because of this break in play and competition. Another reason winter is better for lessons is ball flight. When I teach outdoors, students are generally focused on the end result (ball flight), so their focus is divided between making a swing change and making solid contact. Add to this - conditions of wet turf, strong winds, shadows, uneven lies, and you can see how it is easy to be distracted from making changes. Teaching outdoors in season can actually slow down the process of making the changes necessary to improve, which is why I like to make swing changes over the winter months in a controlled environment like a simulator bay.

"Hitting into a simulator screen or a net is a great way to focus 100% on golf swing changes without worrying about the end result."

I have an ideal year-round training schedule that I try to follow. Of course this sort of schedule does not always occur, it depends on the student, their goals, when they start with lessons, etc. Here is my idea of the perfect training schedule for golfers:

WINTER is for video and major swing changes along with learning more about your golf swing. It is also the best time to workout - getting stronger and more flexible without worrying about being sore before a tournament. It also gives you time to take your new found strength and range of motion to the course when the weather permits.

SPRING is for getting comfortable outdoors on the real turf again with the changes you made. Working on short game and putting is a must and getting your touch back and improving your form are the goals. It is silly to hit too many balls when it is still cold, damp, and windy!

SUMMER is for keeping your swing in check and working hard on your short game. We will also be competing in the occasional club event, so nothing too new or major as far as swing changes go. A lot of golf course management and transfer training (taking your range game to the course) goes on during the summer as well.

FALL is when we are still in maintenance mode with the swing, making subtle changes if needed and reviewing stats to be used for winter training. Setting goals for the following season will also serve as motivation to work hard over the winter months.

I have had great feedback and results from on-course assessment sessions this past season. The process begins with the student playing a few holes from tee to green in order for the coach to get a feel for your entire game from tee to green. After a few holes, we will sit down to discuss a game plan for your improvement based on your goals for the upcoming season. I highly recommend scheduling an assessment and going through this process if you have not done so already.

Now that there is a break in tournament play and the pressure of performance is not looming, it is a great time to work on your game. Maybe a swing change, working on some short game shots, or a reliable pre-shot routine. Take the time to reflect on this past season. If improved, what are the one or two areas of your game that could make a huge difference in your game in 2019? Maybe it is time to work on that...

I have once again partnered with Play-a-Round Golf’s two great Main Line locations in Malvern and Ardmore. The simulators are the same used on the Golf Channel and provide some of the most accurate real-time feedback available on the market today.

Please visit playaroundgolf.net for more information and directions.

Click Here to book your Coaching Session at Play-a-Round Golf - Malvern

Click Here to book your Coaching Session at Play-a-Round Golf - Ardmore

Another option for indoor simulator lessons is Golf & Social in Philadelphia.

Please visit golfandsocial.com for more information and directions.

Click Here to book your Coaching Session at Golf & Social - Philadelphia

"Train hard, play easy."
~ Will Robins

December 14, 2018

Even though we live in an area where the weather can sometimes makes it impossible to go to the range or play golf over the winter, we can still satisfy our itch to work on our golf games during the off-season. If you are a die-hard golfer who is unable to get away to a warmer climate this winter, you will need to find other ways to work on your game! Believe it or not, the winter season is the perfect time to improve a few neglected areas of your golf game including: putting, chipping, pitching practice, and even working on your full swing and setup from the comfort of your home.

Putting - All it takes is a smooth indoor carpet or a putting mat made of artificial turf with a hole. I highly recommend the putting mat pictured in this article, please let me know if you would like more information about it. If you do not have a nice mat like this one, you can always putt into a glass at the end of hallway, or you can purchase a metal putting cup. A great drill while putting indoors is to try to make three putts in a row from three, four, and five, all the way up to ten feet. The goal is to make three in a row before you can move to the next distance. Another drill is to put a quarter on top of your ball and keep your eyes on the quarter as it drops to the ground after you've hit the putt and completed your stroke. A training aid to help your putting path, such as alignment sticks for a putting track (pictured above), is also very helpful. Do you have a pre-putt routine? If not, now is the time to make develop one. I use a black sharpie line to help square up my putter head, this makes putting alignment just about automatic.

This awesome putting green from EyeLine Golf has one of the best rolling surfaces out there. It is the perfect size for your home or office. It is 2 feet wide and 10 feet long with one cup. Measuring 9 to 11 on the Stimp, it is a tour quality putting surface! 

Click Here for more information or to purchase this putting mat

Chipping and Pitching - As a junior golfer I would try to chip into a small net off of a mat in our finished basement. This was great practice because it forced me to have a good setup, become more accurate, and use proper technique because if I missed the net I ran the risk of breaking something! We also had a ping pong set in the basement and I soon discovered that a safer way to work on my chipping was to use ping pong balls. The damage you can do is little to none and you can get a great feel for creating backspin. Focus on a good setup with a narrow stance and weight forward, slight hinge during backswing to get the club up, strike down on the ball to pinch it off of the carpet, and maintain a firm left wrist position through impact. For pitching, give yourself a small obstacle to go over in order to force you to hit the ball higher with more hinge during the backswing.
Full Swing - If you have the space, set up a net and hitting mat in your basement or garage. Swinging in front of a mirror is one of my favorites; you get instant visual feedback on how you are doing. You should have an idea of what positions to look for during your backswing and downswing. Mirror work is also good for developing better posture at address. Work on a contrast drill in order to help your posture. First, setup with too much knee flex and a rounded back on purpose. Next, setup with no knee flex and standing very tall with your upper body. Now setup in between those two extremes and have a slight knee flex, bend over from the hip flexors while keeping your back flat and relaxing your head so your eyes are able to comfortably look down where the ball will be located. Our brains need contrast in order to develop these skills and the mirror will give you visual confirmation of what an athletic setup should look like and what the wrong way looks like as well.

This type of training can sometimes be more valuable than hitting a large bucket of balls on the range. So don't wait until the snow melts or the weather improves, you can do a lot to improve your golf game during the cold months. It's the consistency of doing a little something every day that makes the difference. You should also be setting your golf related goals for the 2019 season in order to motivate you to begin making a commitment for improvement. Contact me any time to setup a time for an assessment and game improvement planning session. I'm excited to help you achieve your goals and become my next success story!

Still looking for that special gift for the golfer in your life? Ask about gift certificate options for lessons and give the gift of lower golf scores!

"There's a difference between interest
and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it
only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you
accept no excuses - only results."

~ Kenneth Blanchard

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