If you don’t find many opportunities to swing your clubs in the winter months, there are still some simple things you can do to work on maintaining your game. In my 25+ years as a PGA Professional the most common thing I see golfers struggle with after a long layoff is the pre-shot basics. Grip, posture, balance and alignment are monumentally important. Allocating some time in the winter can pay huge dividends when you get the opportunity to resume playing.
Posture and Balance: Much like the grip, posture can be a bit shoddy in the spring without some focus in the non-traditional season. When our posture is bad it almost always results in poor balance pre-shot and in shot. How can we work on our posture and balance in the winter? A few basic drills will help:
- Without a club in your hands, cross your arms and lightly grasp your shoulders (right hand on left shoulder and left hand on the right shoulder). Now stand tall and settle yourself so that you feel athletically balanced over the center of your hips and the balls of your feet. Be careful not to push your hips too high and exert pressure on your lower back. Your goal is to find yourself in a position that allows you to turn your lead shoulder under your chin without compromising your balance.
Alignment: Probably the hardest of the four skills in this section to practice statically is alignment. If we utilize some alignment sticks (if you don’t own these then grab a couple of the sticks you line the side of your driveway with for snowblowing our snowplowing references) we can do some simple and productive alignment work. Before we get started let’s make sure to clarify the most common mistake golfers make with alignment. The most common mistake I see is golfers are aiming their feet and shoulders at the target, this typically results in our target line being in correct. Try thinking of alignment like railroad tracks, your club face is aiming the ball at the target (this is our target line and it is one half of our railroad tracks), our feet, hips and shoulders are aimed on a parallel line to our target line. With that clarification we can now work on our alignment with our sticks on the ground by establishing a target line and a parallel body line. Take your time stepping in and out of your practice alignment with a focus each time on creating parallel body alignment to your target line stick.