How to Keep your Golf Game in Shape in Winter

By: Mark Pearson

In winter it can be quite a challenge to keep your golf game ticking over. Many of us just pack the clubs away into the garage and wait until spring to get them out again. Then we are faced with a month or so of very "rusty" golf until we start to click and get in the golfing groove again.

Some golfers are lucky. They live in mild climates where they and can play comfortably all winter. However a great percentage of us live in areas where the weather conditions are against us. Rain, frost or snow can make it very uncomfortable to play or even close the courses. In very cold climates it is not uncommon for the driving ranges to close too.

So what are your options to keep practicing or playing?

Firstly, there are an ever growing number of indoor golf facilities. The majority of these now use excellent simulators aided by the huge leap in computing power that is now available. The simulators are excellent for either playing real (virtual) courses, or training on simulated golf ranges. However, indoor facilities are still relatively few and far between.


If you don't have access to an indoor golf facility, then you should at least try and find a covered driving range. That way you can keep practicing your swing while keeping dry, if not always that warm!

Whenever playing outside in winter (on course or on range) always remember to warm up properly.

In winter you will take a lot longer to warm up. Make sure you warm up properly so your muscles can work effectively. Remember you should never stretch a cold muscle - that will lead to injury. Warm up with light callisthenics, and then do some light stretching to gently get the muscles ready. Start your practice session with short shots, working up to the bigger more powerful swings. The last thing you want to do is overdo it and put yourself out of action!

If you can get out onto the course, remember to go through the proper warm up session, and then take it easy out there! Take an extra club and play easy. Winter is not always the best time to push for lower scores. You have extra clothes on restricting your swing. The course is wet or cold. The ball does not fly or roll as far as in summer. So make sensible adjustments for the conditions.

So what if the conditions are so bad that the courses and ranges are all closed and you cannot get outside at all? Well in this situation there are three things that you can still do to keep some part of your game in shape:

1. Work on your strength and flexibility.

If you are a member of a gym, ask the instructors to give you a custom workout geared to improving your flexibility. Work on basic muscle strength of the large muscle groups. Strength and flexibility are what generate power with ease. Witness Tiger!

2. Take imaginary golf swings.

It may sound daft, but going through gentle swing motions on a regular basis can help in maintaining "muscle" memory. It keeps the golf swing muscles working so that you don't "suffer" first time out. Do not swing fast, swing with 'form'. Make it look good. Imagine you are on the course, visualize the shot, and try and make a perfect swing. It is amazing how much this can help.

3. Work on your putting.

Yes, get your putter out, and putt up and down the carpet! This is one part of the game you can actually do indoors to ingrain your technique. Putt to a cup on its side. Try and 'hole' the ball without turning the cup. It gives you great touch and teaches you to see and putt along a straight line.

Whatever conditions the weather throws at you, just keeping yourself ticking over through the winter. It will give you a big advantage at the start of the season proper over those that packed up for winter.

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