By Bruce Meadows
So it’s raining . . . what about golf ???
It seems like not that long ago, we were bemoaning the warm weather and hoping for rain, for all sorts of reasons, many of them good ones.
OK, so now we got our rain, but what does that do to our golf game?
I researched a number of online sites as far as what to do when the wet/cold weather hits and what that does to our ability to play the game.
Here are a few of the suggestions I found . . . I posted a lot of suggestions here, and I hope a few of them are ones you can use. Let me know if something here works for you, or if you have other ideas about playing golf, protecting your gear, etc.
And Happy Holidays to all . . .
Get an indoor hitting net
Setting up something similar in your garage or basement can provide you with the perfect area to take full swings with all the golf clubs in your bag. While you may not be able to see the ball flight with this setup, you will still be able to have a good feel for impact and club positions through the entire swing.
Set up an indoor putting green
If you can only choose one of these golf tips to execute during the winter months, having an indoor putting green is probably the most ideal. Dialing in your putting stroke and keeping it sharp during the winter months will help save several strokes once the snow finally melts. Adding in putting aids or other gadgets can also help you get better while your golfing buddies are probably doing nothing.
Look, I get it. You couldn’t work out during the spring, summer and fall because you were trying to play as much golf as possible. But now that winter is here and you’re not playing golf, why not use this time to lose a few pounds and get stronger for the next golf season? Working on your flexibility, leg strength and core muscles can help you pick up pick extra yards when spring time rolls around.
Take indoor golf lessons
Indoor golf lessons are a great way to avoid the winter weather outside while sharpening and fine tuning your golf game for the upcoming spring months. Some golf stores and many local golf instructors also offer indoor lessons complete with video recording and the latest technology.
Use a golf simulator
A golf simulator can be a great addition to the indoor hitting net from above. While high-end golf simulator packages can set you back up $25,000 or more, there are other much reasonable packages out there to help you stay golf ready during the winter months. Take OptiShot Golf for example. Packages range from $300 – $500 and you can hook it directly into your computer and play some of the best courses in the world.
Carve out some space in your garage or basement, set up a golf hitting net, hook up the golf simulator and invite your regular golf group over for some winter golf competition indoors. Maybe they can share in the cost.
Go to a golf retail store
This one is the only tip that doesn’t involve spending money and many of you already do this even in perfect weather. Some golf stores have golf simulator screens and hitting bays in which you can test all the golf clubs you want. Some also have putting greens and putters you can try out.
Find a covered range . . .
There are not many in our area, but a covered range does give you a chance to use all the clubs in your bag and also work on your swing.
Move to a warmer climate
This is obviously not realistic for many of us for obvious reasons, but while winter golf trips may be unrealistic for most folks, it is probably the best solution for helping to keep your golf game in shape until spring. Relocating to a warmer climate during the winter months will allow you to play real golf on real golf courses until the snow melts. Texas, Florida, California and Arizona are some of the most popular places to relocate to during the winter months. Is it coincidence that these four states are well known for having great golf courses?
Cold Weather Golfing Tips . . .
Tip 1: Walk instead of ride
If you have the option, choose to walk rather than ride. You’ll be surprised how much walking will warm up your body. You’ll stay looser and your swing won’t suffer.
Tip 2: Keep your hands warm
Walking shall help keep your body warm, but it’s equally important to keep your hands warm. Put hand warmers in your pockets. Consider wearing two gloves. You’ll want to be sure your hands stay warm so you don’t lose any control or finesse over the golf club.
Tip 3: Keep your golf ball warm
Keep your golf ball warm! Golf balls don’t travel as far in cold weather. In fact, you’ll lose about 3-5 yards, depending on air density, for every 10 degree drop in temperature. So, keep that ball in your pocket between holes. Easier said than done, but play smart! Don’t be afraid to hit an extra club – chances are you’ll need it.
Tip 4: Layer your clothing
This is as important as anything – what you wear. You don’t want to bundle up so much that you can’t even make a good, full swing. Consider wearing multiple layers. Some prefer wearing a long sleeve thermal T-shirt, like a poly-pro base layer. Depending on how cold the weather is, try a short/long sleeve golf shirt and then a sweater. And if it’s windy, you may even want to wear some sort of light-weight wind breaker. Don’t’ forget to wear a hat of some sort as keeping your ears and as much of your face as warm as possible will make a noticeable difference.
Tip 5: Have realistic golf expectations in the cold weather
Be realistic. Chances are you’re scoring average will slightly increase during the cold weather months: golf balls don’t go as far, it’s cold and your body is stiffer, and the numerous other reasonable excuses you could make. What’s important is that you’re still playing golf. You enjoy the game so much that little will keep you off the golf course. Consider playing from forward tees since you won’t be hitting the ball as far. Or it may be beneficial to play the same tees so you’ll have a chance to work on some different shots and club selections. Playing through the cold weather months will do wonders for your golf game. Time away from the golf course is typically a bad decision..
Stay sharp during the wet weather . . .
Hit the weights. Strengthening your glutes and maintaining your core are keys to keeping your game fresh, according to Shawn Cox, director of golf at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego. “Strong glutes help with balance and power,” says Cox. Translation? You’re more apt to strike the ball harder and farther, hit after hit. Go for an extra set of squats while holding weights in each hand.
Improve your mental game. Anyone who’s picked up a golf club knows the mental aspect of golf is just as important as the physical. Some pros suggest working on your inner pre-shot routine. Take a deep breath, relax and visualize shots in your head. Developing a pre-shot routine for every shot can help lower your scores.
Learn to like yoga. Both yoga and Pilates help with flexibility and core stability while lengthening muscles to help with range of motion, according to Dennis Clark, director of instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa. And as you improve flexibility and range of motion, you’ll be able to take a fuller, more robust swing. Clark especially recommends these flexibility and strength exercises for senior golfers (as you age, your body has more flexibility restrictions).
Swing weighted clubs. Working with weighted clubs is a way to improve the timing and mechanics of your swing, says Russ Miller, director of golf at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Your body’s motor memory is enhanced when swinging with a heavier club (so it’s easier for your muscles to “remember” how to swing correctly). You’ll also feel the moment of impact better, which helps develop consistent timing.
Practice in the mirror. Blake Cathey, lead instructor at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, swears by using full-length mirrors as training aids. “You want to make several super slow motion swings while maintaining your balance through the entire motion,” says Cathey. Try to correlate what you’re feeling with what you see in the mirror and make adjustments accordingly. Cathey suggests practicing your full swing, back swing and down swing for five minutes, four times a week.
Visit the driving range. This may seem obvious, but it’s important: Nothing helps your game more than actually hitting golf balls. If you can’t hit the links, head to the indoor range to practice your drive. “It will keep your swing in a groove and keep your golf muscles in shape,” says Clark. To maintain momentum and motor memory through the offseason, visit the range at least once a week.
Chip and putt on carpet. Chipping and putting is either your forte or your failing—ensure it’s the former and practice on carpet during the off-season, advises The Broadmoor’s Miller. In terms of friction, it’s similar to the fairway and green (and convenient enough to do in your bedroom) and will help you maintain your touch.
Do one-armed drills. If golf is anything, it’s a measurement of consistency. To that end, Ronnie Miller, director of instruction at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, recommends this putting drill: Place one hand on your putter then stroke five-footers for 10 minutes while keeping the other hand at your side or in your hip pocket. “This will help you develop a good putting rhythm,” says Miller. Try it from four different directions to the same hole, and keep a steady rhythm (which will foster consistency) with each stroke.
Protect your clubs during the winter . . .
When we discuss how to store golf clubs, we might be talking about one of two different scenarios: storing your clubs on a day-to-day basis, and long-term golf club storage.
There are different considerations in each case. But in the end, the best advice is the same: It’s best to store golf clubs in a dry, temperature-controlled environment.
Day to Day Club Storage: So you’re not worried about storing golf clubs for a few months, you’re just wondering about storing them for a couple days until your next round of golf. And you don’t want to lug them back inside your house. Can’t you just leave them in the trunk of your car? Or at least in the garage?
Storage in a Car Trunk: We recommend that you never leave golf clubs stored in the trunk of a car. If it will be a few days before you play golf again, then you’ll be driving around with the clubs back there, clanging about, possibly picking up scratches or nicks or dents.
Heat is another reason to avoid the trunk. Temperatures inside a car trunk can climb close to 200 degrees on hot, sunny days. The epoxy affixing the clubhead onto the shaft can break down over time. The glue under the grip can also break down, causing the grip to slip around the shaft. Now, maybe your clubs won’t be in the car trunk long enough for such a breakdown to occur. But why take the chance? Besides, you don’t want your clubs banging around in the trunk. So take your clubs out of the trunk when you get home from the golf course.
Storage in a Garage: If you want to leave your clubs in the garage overnight because you’re using them again tomorrow; or store them in the garage for a couple days until you need them again, that is fine. Just make sure your clubs and bag are dry—always dry off golf clubs and make sure the golf bag interior is dry before storing them, whether for a day or a year.
If moisture tends to build up in your garage, then take your clubs inside your home. High humidity can lead to rust. Heat build-up in garages doesn’t reach the same temperatures as it does in a car trunk, so epoxy and resin breakdown shouldn’t be a problem.
But again, make sure your clubs and bag interior are dry before leaving them in the garage for a few days. If you won’t be using the clubs for another few days, it’s always a good idea to clean your clubs (including the grips) and wipe down the shafts before storing them.
Conclusion: Don’t leave your clubs in the car trunk. The garage is fine for a few days at a time so long as your clubs are dry and clean. But if you want to be absolutely golf club storage choice, bring the clubs into your house or aparment, clean them and dry them off. Inside your home, there is no chance of heat affecting grips or epoxies.
Long-Term Golf Club Storage
What about long-term golf club storage—for several months or more? Maybe you’re putting your clubs away for the winter; maybe an illness prevents you from playing; or other long-term obligations make it clear you won’t be needing your clubs for a while. How do you store golf clubs for several months or more?
Forget about the trunk of your car. Get those clubs out of there!
A garage or storage facility? If the location is humidity- and temperature-controlled, yes. Otherwise, no.
For long-term storage, bring those golf clubs into your home, or put them in some other interior location that is dry and temperature-controlled.
Before you store golf clubs over the long term, give them a cleaning. Clean the clubheads and grips and wipe down the shafts. Let them completely dry before placing the clubs back into the golf bag. (And make sure the interior of your golf bag is dry before replacing the clubs.)
If your golf bag came with a rain cover, place that cover over the top of the bag. And then find a corner of a closet or a room—some place out of the way where the bag won’t be getting knocked around—and put the clubs away.
If your garage is not temperature-controlled, then don’t store golf clubs there over a winter. Constant exposure to cold won’t damage the clubhead or shaft, but could dry out the grips and cause them to harden or crack.
To sum up, the most-important things to remember about how to store golf clubs:
- Make sure they are dry before you put them away.
- If putting them away for more than a few days, clean them first.
- And keep them in a dry, temperature-controlled location—inside your home is always the first choice.
Golf outing offered . . .
Oakmont GC LPGA pro Jessica Reese Quayle has announced her latest golf trip, this one to Marival Armony Luxury Resort in Punta de Mita.
The outing is scheduled March 3-10, 2020. Non-golfer price is $1,989 per person and the golf package is an extra $329.
The package includes a non-stop flight from Oakland on a private charter plane to Puerta Vallarta; transportation by charter bus to the resort from the airport; seven nights at the Marival Armony Luxury Resort with all meals and premium drinks included.
The golf option includes three rounds of golf, green fees, cart and range balls plus roundtrip transportation. Courses include the Greg Norman-designed Litibu Golf Club, Flamingos Golf Club and El Tigre Golf Club. Additional rounds are available at discount prices.
For additional details, contact Jessica at [email protected] or call 707-321-9791.
What are your golfing favorites?
From time to time, when I wrote a weekly golf column for the Press Democrat, I would ask readers to take part in a very unofficial survey.
I wanted to know – and wanted our readers to have some knowledge – about what local golfers like or don’t like about golf in our area.
It’s been a while since I did this survey, so I figured I would toss it out to readers of my online column, GOLF 707.
I would like to know what you think, and local golf courses and golf-related businesses would no doubt like to have some idea what local golfers think, too. Those courses and business who get good reviews can continue to do what they’re doing, and those that do not show up on our survey might want to take a look at how they can do things a little better.
So check out the following list and let me know your thoughts. I would prefer an email to [email protected] so I can compile a list and keep a running vote total.
And while you are handing out praise, feel free to take a shot at golf courses, businesses or pros or whatever you feel need some improvement.
Include your name and city with your email if possible. And if there is a category you feel I missed, feel free to create one. You can respond to the categories that interest you, but respond to all of them if you wish.
Here’s the list:
Best Par 3
Best Par 4
Best Par 5
Best 18-hole Course
Best 9-hole Course
Best 19th Hole
Best Pro Shop
Friendliest, most helpful Pro Shop Staff
Best Golf Instructor
Best Junior Program
Best Women’s Program
Best Senior Program
Best Golf Course Food, Drink
Best Driving Range
Best “Bang for your Buck”
Best Practice Facility (putting green, chipping green, etc.)
Best Golf Shop (well-stocked, sales, etc.)
Best Golf Repair
Best Maintained Course
Let’s hear from you . . .
Thanks for your comments, questions and suggestions. I appreciate getting them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics, activities, tournaments or sales, let me know. And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in our area, I want to hear them.
If you have a golfer – pro or amateur — you know who you think would make an interesting story, tell me about it and I will take it from there. Having trouble with your game? Let me know what it is and I’ll try to get an answer for you from a local pro.
We would be proud to include you as one of our sponsors – thanks to Bill Carson at Wine Country Golf for his continued support – so if you care to get some details about being a sponsor of GOLF 707, email me at [email protected]