If you love to play golf and live in a cold climate, you probably hate the winter. It brings frigid temperatures and inches of snow. If you’re like I am you’d rather be chipping away at your golf handicap than shoveling out the driveway. But winter has its upsides. It gives you time to correct swing fixes and/or recover from nagging injuries. It also gives you time to get fit for the season ahead.
One problem you’ll face when you start playing again is regaining the feel of your swing. It usually takes a few times out to get everything back in sync. If an injury caused the layoff, it may take a little longer to recover your feel. Below are some golf tips that will help you reclaim your swing after a layoff. Use it like a checklist to help you focus on the right keys.
Check Your Posture
Bad posture is among the most common faults we see in golfers who haven’t played in awhile. It’s also one of the most common swing faults we see in our golf lessons. Maybe your legs are too straight and stiff at address or you’re hunched over too much. Whatever it is, bad posture prevents you from making a confident, athletic swing. It also short-circuits power and decreases accuracy.
Start from the ground up to achieve an athletic posture. Put your weight on the balls of your feet, bend your knees over your toes, flex your legs a bit, and straighten your back and shoulders. To be sure that your posture is right, check it in the mirror at home, in a photo, or on video.
Get Iron Ready At Address
Another problem after a layoff is setting up to hit your irons. Setting up correctly is critical when hitting an iron, as we tell students in our golf lessons. Distribute your weight over your feet evenly, spread your feet slightly beyond your hips, and tilt your shoulders slightly away from the target, but not as much as if you were hitting a driver. Also, make sure the shaft points toward your navel or slightly forward of the ball and that the ball is positioned correctly for the club you’re hitting.
Practice Your Short Game
Another problem after a long layoff is your short game swing. It’s among the first things to go during a layoff. Achieving a good chipping and pitching motion is simple. Keep your head and knees at the same level during the swing and the handle of the club pointed back toward your core. Also, visualize the club’s sole just scrapping the grass through contact. This prevents you from dipping down and trying to lift the ball off the turf. We work on scrapping with students in our short game golf lessons all the time. And don’t get “flippy” with your hands when swinging. Instead, stay level and rotate.
Focus On Your Finish
If there’s one thing that will help you reclaim your swing quickly, it’s your finish. Strive for a full, balanced finish at the end. This type of finish has your back shoulder pointed at the target, your back toe up all the way to the point of the shoe, and your back straight up and down, with no leaning back. Your club shaft should be parallel to the horizon or as close to it as you can get it when you come around. (If a bad back or hip prevent you from going all the way around, go as far as you can.)
Winter is a great time to refine your swing. Improvements made then can chop strokes off your golf handicap later on. But it takes time to get back your swing after a long layoff. Use the checklist and golf tips above to reclaim your swing quickly next season.