It seems like the whole world is on standstill right now, with many – if not all – of our favourite activities grinding to a halt. While some states are allowing golf courses to remain open for the moment, other states have closed them down. As well, people in high risk categories are being encouraged not to play golf, even if their golf club remains open.
Whether you’re able to tee up at the moment or not, it’s important to keep active during this pandemic. If you can no longer get to your local course, there’s still plenty you can do to prevent your game getting rusty over the next few months.
Practice, practice, practice
Golf is one of the most complex and technically demanding sports around, and you really can’t practice too much. And there’s much more to a good practice session than just hitting the driving range for half an hour. There’s plenty you can do to practice at home, and there’s literally thousands of golf drills around that you can do in your house or backyard to improve your game. Just google it to discover a wealth of drills to try at home, or ask your local professional for ideas.
One idea to try is to aim to make 100 practice swings in your backyard every day. This will help you build, hone and automate your swing so that it becomes fully repeatable when you’re on the course.
And don’t just practice random things – make sure your practice is deliberate, specific, focused and meaningful. Have a particular goal in mind and work towards achieving that. Spend the majority of your practice time on the things you don’t do as well, rather than the things you’re already good at.
Get golf fit
You may not be able to hit the golf courses much at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your strength and fitness during this period of down time. Many people may spend this time sitting on the couch, relaxing and watching their favourite shows – but don’t be like them. Contrary to popular belief, golf is a physically demanding sport. To get the best out of your game, golfers need a combination of strength, stability, mobility and cardiovascular fitness. A lack of any of these elements can not only negatively affect your performance but can also lead to aches and pains and the potential for injury. So even though you may not be able to actually play golf right now, you can still work on improving your strength and fitness. That way, when courses around the country re-open and restrictions are lifted, you’ll be fit, strong and ready to play – with a distinct advantage over many of your fellow players who may have lost a significant amount of their strength and fitness during this time.
To play efficiently, golfers need to work on strengthening their:
- Hand and wrist muscles
- Arm muscles
- Leg muscles
- Hip muscles
- Abdominal muscles
- Chest muscles
All of this takes time and effort – and seeing as you can’t play golf right now, you have the time. You just need to make the effort. A good strength and conditioning program will involve some weight training, some core conditioning and some stretching – and will give you a big advantage in your game.
There are any number of strength and fitness programs to be found online. If you’re unsure what areas you need to focus on or where to start, book an online consultation with a golf or fitness professional to help set you on the right path.
For more on how to minimise golf injuries, click here.
Watch some (or a lot) of golf
It’s all in the name of research, right? You can definitely improve your golf by watching the professionals play. However, don’t just mindlessly watch the pros – really focus on what you’re watching, analyse it and figure out if and how you can apply these strategies to your own game. Try this:
- Imagine taking the shot the pro is taking, and compare your decision-making with theirs. What club would you choose? Where would you aim your shot? Note the outcomes, as this will help guide and improve the choices you make on the course. What decisions worked well, and which ones didn’t?
- Take note of the pre-shot routine each player uses, and consider adding some of these elements into your own pre-shot routine.
- Think about the shots you see in detail and make mental notes as to what worked and what didn’t.
Shop online and get some great golf accessories
Now is the time to take stock of your golf gear, and work out what needs replacing, or what equipment you need to add to your kit bag. If anything is getting worn out, consider replacing it with new or second-hand equipment. Useful gear like hitting nets might be a great idea to consider right now, so that you can get more practice in at home.
If you’re serious about your golf, you’ll want the best equipment you can afford. There will be many sales around at the moment, so take advantage of these to stock your golf bag with some great new gear.
To view Parmaker’s range of quality golf buggies and accessories, click here.
Work on the mental side of golf
Few golfers spend much time working on the mental side of the game or doing anything specific to develop their mental skills for golf. Luckily, with time on your hands now, you can use this time to focus on developing your mental skills and toughness. Here are a few things you can try.
- Develop a mental routine that you can perform before each shot to help you become physically, mentally and technically ready to perform and to increase the control you have over your performance.
- Learn how to stay present in the moment and quiet your mind, as these are skills you can improve, and which will help your game. Daily meditation is one way to improve this.
- Develop a high golf IQ – learn how different types of grass, lies and weather conditions affect the flight of the ball, so that you can apply this knowledge to your game.
- Learn some strategies to help you manage performance anxiety, lower your heart rate, control tension and stay focussed when you’re under pressure.
Learn the rules
You may know the basic rules of golf, but there’s probably many rules you’ve never encountered before – and that might be helpful to know. Your score can be torpedoed by penalty shots if you lack an in-depth knowledge of the rules of golf. If you know the rules inside out, you can also use them to your advantage – leading to a better round. Have a read through the rules during this non-playing period – and you’ll come back armed with some very useful knowledge.
Plan a golf trip
This one’s just plain fun – because who doesn’t like planning out their next holiday? Yes, you can’t travel anywhere at the moment, but that won’t last forever. When travel restrictions are lifted, have a golfing holiday all planned out and ready to go. There are many wonderful and scenic golf courses around Australia (and the world) just waiting to be explored. This could be a great way to get back into the swing of golf, as playing on a different course will challenge and refresh you. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to during this time of isolation.
This is not wasted time. With the right attitude, this period of time away from the game of golf can be useful, productive – and fun.