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Winter is a Perfect Time to Improve Your Golf Swing

October 9, 2014
Minnesota golf academy

Courtesy Minnesota Golf Academy

Focus on your golf swing this winter

Frost is on the ground, summer is surrendering to crisp autumn temperatures – it can only mean one thing, winter is coming. It’s also a perfect time to turn your game indoors and get to work on your swing! That’s right, while most golfers are packing up their sticks for the frigid Minnesota winter, the player who is serious about making technical swing changes may find it most valuable hitting the range…inside this “off season”. If you think of it, winter is a perfect time to improve your golf swing. Jim McNaney, Director of Instruction at GolfTec in the Twin Cities, says “Off-season is really the only time people should make major changes.” McNaney uses a baseball analogy saying a major league pitcher uses the winter months to to learn a new pitch rather than during the season.

Indoor golf instruction is becoming more popular in northern climate states. As an example, McNaney points to the rapid growth of GolfTec in the Twin Cities over the past several years. Add to that other facilities such as the Minnesota Golf Academy in Eden Prairie and numerous simulators including stations at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. With the advent of golf swing technology that can be used inside or outside, golfers are reaping the benefit of year round practice. Here are 4-good reasons why winter is the best time to work on your golf swing:

Focused attention

Spend time on the practice tee or on the course? Most golfers prefer to play the game and they’re typically not big fans of practice. And yet some of the best swing work is done on the driving range. In northern climates, golfers usually don’t have the luxury of choosing between practicing or playing. However, with indoor instructional facilities, golfers can receive coaching in large indoor facilities without the temptation of jumping on the golf course.

“In the winter, you have the time to put together an effective plan to use sequential lessons to make the change you’re looking for permanent,” McNaney points out.  “Also, your focus can clearly be on the change you want to make.”

Change takes time

Most amateur golfers in northern climates do not spend the time necessary practicing their game during the golf season and many try to make swing changes during that limited window. Minnesota PGA Assistant Professional, Luke Benoit, says depending on the player and the swing changes, adjustments can take a long time.

“There’s a transition period when you’re changing from one method to another,” said Benoit. “Look at tour players, it can take months for their changes to set in.”  Benoit says the typical amateur golfer could need anywhere from 10 hours to 10,000 hours of practice time to reinforce changes, so even a winter of practice may not be enough time!

Video and Data feedback

Technology has changed the game of golf and the ability to record a golfers swing with video equipment and then analyze it with the golfer now provides the player with valuable feedback. Instructors working in simulators don’t need a golf course for this type of instruction yet the feedback can be extremely valuable for a golfer making swing changes. Another valuable teaching tool are programs like Trackman, which provides the instructor and golfer valuable information about ball flight and the point of impact. Acquiring, interpreting and applying changes gathered from this data can add yards to a golfer’s game.

“I’ve had golfers come out of the gates in the first round of the season with 10-extra yards, just from working on Trackman,” Benoit noted.

Courtesy Minnesota Golf Academy

Courtesy Minnesota Golf Academy

Perfect conditions

If only all golf courses could guarantee dry and 70 degree temperatures every day – especially in January! Without that luxury in states like Minnesota, both the player and instructor can practice in perfect conditions inside. While this is not necessarily helpful once the golfer takes his game outside in the spring, it allows for easy scheduling of practice without concerns of inclement weather. Which means, your lesson will probably happen at the time and place you schedule it regardless of the conditions outside.

Of course, as any golfer will attest, there’s nothing like being on the course to work on your game. No golfer has won a club championship or a $5 Nassau on the driving range. However, if you’re working on technical swing changes, the winter months provide a fantastic opportunity for golfers to get their game on track.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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