Then, when spring comes, you’ll be fit and fine-tuned and well on your way. And good luck in the club championship. If you win, send me a photograph care of Travel + Leisure Golf. I’ll write a note of congratulations on it and send it back to you.
Study Your Mirror Image
Setting up a simple practice studio in your garage or basement is a great way to help familiarize yourself with changes you make to your golf swing over the winter. Apart from a ceiling that’s high enough, all you need is a full-length mirror (you can get one at the hardware store) and some tape to create alignment marks on the floor. Facing the mirror, you can check your setup posture and hand and arm positions at various points in the backswing and throughswing. Standing side-on to the mirror lets you check your swing plane. And you’ll also be amazed by how much regularly making practice swings will improve your strength, flexibility and rhythm.
Improve Your Turn
The more movements you make while in a golf stance, the more you will enhance your technique, strength, flexibility and balance. One of the best ways to improve your turn is to drape your arms over a golf club or broomstick held behind your back. Adopt a perfect golf posture: Center your weight evenly on the balls of both feet, bend from the hips (not the waist) and flex the knees slightly. Then make easy, rhythmic turns, back and through. On the backswing, focus on keeping your back knee bent, stable and strong as you move your weight over it. Do ten sets of ten turns and you’ve had a workout. For a variation, make turns holding a medicine ball (no heavier than six to ten pounds) in your hands, at arm’s length.
Another great off-season drill is to hold a golf club by the grip with one hand and make big figure eights with the clubhead, clockwise and counterclockwise. Alternate hands to strengthen your forearms and wrists.
Hold the Finish
The biggest difference between a pro swing and an amateur swing is that the pro finishes in balance and facing the target, with most of his weight over his front foot, and the amateur does not. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get to that correct finish position after a swing and to hold it, but I’ve found that many amateurs simply don’t have the strength or the balance to do so. After a second or two, their front leg starts to quiver and they begin to topple. Practice can really help, with or without a ball. Make a swing to the proper finish position and hold that position for ten seconds, or for as long as you can. Repeat ten times and rest, then do it again. If this becomes the end goal of every swing you make, the rest of your swing cannot possibly be far off.