There’s no way around it, winter golf is rubbish. But before you give in to the elements and put your clubs away for a while, here’s how to work on your game over the coldest months – and enjoy it.
By Charlotte Ibbetson
I spent almost four years living in the UAE. And just as I started to acclimatise to the desert heat, I moved back to the UK – in November, just as it was getting really cold and wet, amidst the joys of Brexit and general elections.
Believe it or not, one of the things I worried about we decided to move back was falling out of love with golf (why would I want to play in thermals when I’ve spent so long in shorts and sleeveless tops?). But actually, the opposite has been true. No, I haven’t lost the plot, I just found new ways to work on my game now that I’ve had a harsh (and cold) bump back to normality.
Here are my five tips for improving your game in the winter, even when you can’t quite face the frosty golf course …
1. Quality over quantity
Remember: Less is more when you’re on the driving range. Aim for 30 minutes of really solid practice. Pick a drill, pick a target and commit to every single shot you hit. I only ever get a basket of 50 balls, otherwise I run out of concentration, but find the number that works for you. You’ll find you’ll get so much more out of your session than hitting balls mindlessly down the range for hours.
2. Fake it until you make it
When the weather gets really bad, why not try out an indoor simulator? Practice your swing and put your skills to the test on some of the world’s most famous golf course – you can even enjoy a gin and tonic (or two) at the same time at most venues. There’s Urban Golf in Farringdon, with craft beers, cocktails and a DJ, or for something a bit more serious, give The Golf Lab in Canary Wharf a go.
Farleigh Golf Club in Surrey also have a simulator nestled in the warmth of the clubhouse, meaning there’s absolutely no excuse to not squeeze in a ‘round’ even when it’s cold and rainy.
3. Get fit for golf
If your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, then this one is for you. Give your gym sessions some focus and work on the muscles that are really going to help your golf swing. Concentrate on developing your core and building your glute muscles to help you hit the ball further when the season starts.
If you need a starting point, try out these glute exercises with Katie Dawkins.
4. Brush up between your ears
We all know that one of the hardest skills to master in golf is your mental game. So if you can’t get out on to the golf course, take advantage of your spare time and get reading about the ways you can learn to control your grey matter. I can personally recommend The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steven Peters. It explains that your brain has three different sections – the human, the chimp and the computer – and that being able to recognise, understand and control each of those sections is the key to becoming a happier, more confident and more successful person. It’s a book you really have to stick with, but one that I’m sure will really resonate with a lot of people. This is one for golf and life.
5. Book a holiday
We all need a healthy dose of vitamin D – and sea – so when all else fails, get your friends together and book a golfing holiday on sunnier shores. Check out our latest travel offers for some winter-golf inspiration. Besides, it has been scientifically proven that a girls holiday actually makes you happier.
Image credit: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images