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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Swing Thoughts for a New Year

For many of us, January weather doesn't lend itself to much practice. That doesn't mean we can't make some improvement in our games while we stay warm and cozy inside!

Today I'd like to give you some ideas on how to make the best of a cold situation. Although none of these things are difficult, chances are good you haven't even thought about them. Some of them are things that you just don't want to take the time to work on when you can actually play. You can't play now, so work on them while you watch TV.
  • Practice your grip. Did you realize you don't even need to stand up to practice gripping your clubs? You don't have to swing them either. Keeping one of your shorter clubs next to your TV chair can be a convenient way to get that grip down pat, especially if you've recently made a change to it. Just grip the club and hold it in front of you, as if the ball were floating several feet in front of you and about level with your head. Again, you don't have to swing the club; the idea is simply that you hold the club properly with a relaxed grip until it becomes second nature. That way, it's one less thing to think about when you're actually playing.
  • Practice your setup. Remember, you don't have to swing a club. Just set up as if you were getting ready to hit your shot. You can check your alignment and make sure you're relaxed. Lay clubs on the floor, or check your stance in front of a mirror. (Even a short bathroom mirror on a medicine cabinet can help you make sure your shoulder line is the same as your foot line.)
  • Increase your flexibility. You don't have to contort yourself into weird positions. Just stand up and do some simple stretches during commercials.
  • Play some mental golf. Work on your playing strategy. Imagine you're out on the course; pick clubs and hit shots, watching where they land. Walk to the shot, see your next targer, and play that shot as well. Scientific research has shown that, if your imaginings are vivid enough, your muscles can't tell the difference between mind games and the real thing. So if you can actually imagine what your muscles feel like when you hit these shots, you may even improve your game!
  • Learn how other players do things. I try to help you some with this one by giving you looks at how different players swing and make certain kinds of shots. But you can read books -- sometimes the best ones are out-of-print books that you can find at the library -- and watch videos.
  • Set some goals. They don't have to be anything fancy; in fact, the simpler the better. Try to add one new type of shot to your repertoire this year, or just improve one area of your game. Have you ever been looking about a new car... and suddenly noticed how many of them there were on the roads? Picking just one thing for improvement will have the same effect -- you'll tend to notice when players are using that shot or even just talking about it. With your mind attuned to that one aspect of the game, you'll tend to improve more quickly.
  • Finally, watch some golf. Just watching good players can help your game. (As if you needed an excuse!)
These are simple things you can do to improve your golf game while you're stuck inside because of the cold. Why let the winter go to waste?


  1. Thank you, sir! Now if I can just follow it myself... !

  2. Good stuff, I need to do some more of this. I am always trying to improve my game.