By Bill Abrams, PGA Professional and Teacher of the Year
Well, the woodchuck says it’s going to be golf season sooner than later here in Chicagoland. Now is the time to think about and more so prepare for the upcoming season. This piece will discuss a few ways to prepare so you may be ready to play well right off the bat.
Often overlooked in the off season, we need to be sure it is all in good shape and working order. My checklist would include condition of your grips, condition and age of your clubs, condition of your shoes and spikes, supplies in your golf bag such as tees and ball markers to name a few.
Grips are a key to playing great and if they are worn or not properly fit they will definitely hamper your ability to score. Now is the time to replace the spikes in your shoes – poor stability and traction will become an issue.
Funny thing is, there are three pieces of equipment we play EVERY shot with – shoes, grips, and golf ball. Yet in many cases players do not consider them key pieces of your success. Bottom line , you want to be prepared when you get to hit the course.
There are several things we can do to help us play our best. Simply beginning a routine of walking and stretching will have a positive effect on your game. Winter, at times, becomes a time of little activity while golf involves more activity than you realize.
I am a firm believer that balance and stability are the foundation of a consistently repeatable effective swing. Simply taking practice swings with maximum speed will enhance your balance when you are able to stick the finish.
Hold your balance for at least 3 seconds after taking a full speed practice swing. Then swing a little faster and hold the finish again for 3 seconds. Go through a progression of 10 swings increasing speed on each one. Then graduate to taking full speed swings with your eyes closed and stick the finish. The addition of you closing your eyes will make you much more aware of your balance and stability in your swing. Do the same 10 swing progression with your eyes closed as we did above.
Be aware of your rehearsal swing speed once you get on the course. Often players will tend to swing with less speed and commitment prior to the shot then step up and swing much faster after addressing the golf ball. Let’s make a change with this rehearsal swing – actually “rehearse” the swing at the speed (or a little faster) than you intend to hit the shot. We have found this allows you to have a better sense of balance and ability to swing through to a full finish. Give this a try – you will be surprised at what it provides.
Putting can and will make or break your score. Our goal is to amass as many 1 putts as possible while eliminating 3 (or more) putts. This goes without saying. A good drill to help you work on speed and line is to putt to a quarter or a tee. Start from no further than 5 feet. First putt to the quarter and make the ball stop right on it. Then putt to the quarter and have the ball roll over it stopping about 1 foot past. These will help you gain your speed control plus start line of the putt. Be sure your back stroke and through stroke are the same length.
Once the season opens, I will be offering The Woods Practice Club at Balmoral Woods. Beginning May 8, 2019 the Club will meet at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays and 12:00 pm on Saturdays. The Club is designed to be more than a clinic, it is an interactive learning experience that guides players on all aspects of the game including on course time and practice routines. Players who have taken advantage of this program will tell you it has made a positive difference in their game. We will also off Junior programming featuring a USKids Golf Star Academy (one of the first in the country) for younger players and USA National Junior Team training program for older more experienced Juniors.
Please contact me for info and to register – firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-926-4554.