While the weather may not keep you off the course this winter, if you live in the colder, darker part of the world, you’ll realistically spend less time outside and therefore less time on the links. Which makes this the perfect time of year to attend to a side of your game you may have been neglecting: your own physical conditioning. Though you can still find ways to practice your swing and your putting, there are plenty of ways to improve your game this winter without ever touching a club.
Walking and Running
You may never learn to love running (though you never know for sure until you try this). However, if golf truly is “a good walk spoiled,” what better way to train during the off-season than by going for a good, unspoiled walk? You’ll not only improve your cardiovascular fitness and become less dependent on your cart, you’ll also increase your stamina and improve your posture, which will help your game, especially when it comes to the eighteenth hole.
Weight lifting is great for golfers. Building the right muscles not only increases your strength and stamina (and improves your balance), it can also increase power and swing speed. There are different sets of exercises to accomplish both. And make sure you’re lifting the right amount, at the right number of reps. You want to maximize strength and bone density, not build unnecessary bulk. Lift heavier (about 80% of the maximum weight you can lift once) then do no more than 6 or 7 reps, making sure to rest adequately in between.
Plyometrics are workouts that focus on explosive movements to increase fast-twitch muscle and power. It’s easy to imagine how this kind of training could improve one’s golf swing, but what exercises specifically are good for this? Check out 2009 British Open winner Stewart Clink’s plyometric routine and this modified box jump.
Finally, don’t forget to combine all of this with a proper stretching routine. The last thing you want is to be sidelined come spring by an off-season injury. And having a good stretching routine in place will keep you flexible and injury free once you get back on the course.