Generally speaking, the golf season in the UK runs between April and the end of September, and certainly all the major tournaments take place between these months.
That may make you think you can take a break from golf during the cooler seasons. In fact, it can be a great time to take stock and work on your game so that you’re in pole position to hit the ground (or course) running when the new season tees off next spring.
Here are some pointers for things you can work on and why the autumn and winter offer such good opportunities to up your game.
There are no golf competitions
To state the obvious, in the UK there are no tournaments to compete in between September and April. That removes one source of pressure, freeing you up to concentrate on your game and improving it. You can try things out and see if they work outside of the competition circuit.
Upgrade your golf equipment
Again, there’s no competitive play. So if you want to upgrade, adapt or otherwise change the kit you play with, the off-season is the ideal chance to do it. Not only will you have time to adapt to playing with new clubs and the like, but you’ll have ample opportunity to work out whether the equipment is right for you. Audit your clubs and give them a good clean at the same time; equally, ensure the grips are in reasonable condition.
A wash in warm soapy water returns much of the tackiness for better grip if you’re not planning on replacing the grips.
Analyse your game
There’s no better period than the off-season to do this. Sit down, reflect on your current game and try to look at some current statistics, such as up and downs, fairways and greens hit in regulation. Identify up to three areas which are holding you back. Next, consider how you will improve each area, including physical conditioning, technique and practice, plus the often-forgotten area of how you will improve your mindset and in turn boost the way you play.
Flex your golfing muscles
You don’t need to be in the gym for hours every day. But you do need to keep active and the muscles working if you’re out on the course less, to maintain a basic level of fitness all year round. You don’t want to start the new season having been inactive for months.
Whether you’ve been on the range or out on the course, don’t let a bad round put you off. You need to make a firm commitment to your game until next season, so follow through and keep practicing all winter. Don’t lose the momentum you should have built up during the warmer months.
Wear the right golfing clothes
When the mercury dips, it’s important to keep your muscles warm to help avoid injury. Think wet-weather gloves, thin base layers and thermal socks. But don’t layer up so much that you restrict your movement.
Equally, don’t use cold golf balls – warmer ones carry further. Keep them with a hand warmer in your pocket.
Practice your golf swing
For any golfer, getting their swing consistently spot-on can pose quite the challenge. So if you need to work on the mechanics or timing of yours, you’re certainly not alone. But practice with purpose; don’t just smash balls down the range believing that that’s a good use of time. Plan what you are going to practice – whether that’s shot shaping, distance control, alignment or your short game. You can also make it more enjoyable setting yourself mini challenges throughout the session.
So winter doesn’t have to be ‘dead’ time for your golf – far from it. Plan to use the period productively and you’ll reap the benefits next season. Remember, we offer an intensive winter camp for juniors in Portugal which will get your next season off to the best possible start.