Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winter Help

We are extremely fortunate to have a year round golf facility at the United States Golf Academy, so even as Mother Nature decides what type of precipitation she wants to dump on us today, we can at least swing a golf club, and take out some of our frustrations on that little white ball. Over the years there has been a number of theories as to the benefit or detriment of hitting golf balls indoors. We believe it can be very good for your game and the following are some ideas on how to make the most of the “indoor season”.
Avoid Mindless Repetition. There is no real gain from practice without a purpose at any time of the year. Hitting a couple hundred golf balls into a net just for the sake of hitting balls probably does more harm than good. Instead, now is the time to develop that routine you have heard would help but you were never able to accomplish on the golf course. Pick a spot on the net, aim the club at the spot, and then use the club as the reference of your alignment to the ball. Make your swing and watch where the ball strikes the net. Even this simple feedback is beneficial as you relate your setup process to the result. Another good practice is to note where you strike the ball on the clubface. Take a dry erase marker with you and mark the ball on the side closest to the golf club. The dry erase will leave a mark on the clubface so you can see the impact point on the club.
Video Tape Your Swing. Winter is the best time to get with a PGA professional and video tape your swing. As we said earlier feedback is a good thing and nothing points out the flaws like video. A word of caution; make sure the camera or cameras are positioned correctly. If you are looking down the target line make sure the camera is parallel to the target line, directly behind your hands. If the camera is face on it should be perpendicular to the target line and pointed at your sternum. Video taken from positions other than these can give you an inaccurate picture of your swing and lead to improper conclusions.
Practice your Short Game. Now is the best time to get familiar with your wedges. Learn to hit shots with different length swings. Work on using an even tempo. Short game strokes (less than a full swing) have a three beat rhythm. 1 starts the club back. 2 is the transition from backswing to forward swing and on 3 you accelerate the club to the finish. This is also the best rhythm for putting as well. Hitting short shots thinking only of rhythm and tempo will pay real dividends at the end of the season.