Just because winter is coming and the golf clubs are going into the closet for a few months is no reason to stop working on your game. In fact, according to Ben Shear, Director of Performance at Golf & Body NYC, there are many ways to use the cold, indoor months to improve your health and your game so you’ll play that much better when the golf season starts again.
“Not everyone has to do what Tiger Woods does,” says Shear, “but there are things we all should do if we want to play at a good level.” He adds, “just a few tips or exercises aren't enough to really help you in the off-season. There's much more to gain by using the time to make some important changes not only to how you swing but how you think about your game and take care of your body."
Here are Shear’s five off-season ways to guarantee long-term improvement of your body and your swing.
- Start a fitness program. “Join a gym, or better yet, join a specialized golf-improvement facility like Golf & Body NYC, where the fitness experts and golf instructors will evaluate your health and golf swing and then work together to create a program tailored specifically for you.”
- Get a physical assessment. “If you’re not going to exercise or join a gym, at least get a physical assessment so you know what your body is, and is not, capable of. This is especially good advice if you’re going to work with a golf professional, because he needs to know where you’re flexible, where you’re strong, and where you’re not. Otherwise he might try to teach you a swing you physically can’t make, in which case you’ll never improve—and might even hurt yourself.”
- Change your mental outlook. “Average golfers have poor expectations. I don't mean about total score, but shot to shot. They think every shot should be hit perfectly, but no one does. Tour players accept this, recreational golfers don’t. Use the off-season to change your approach, focusing on end results rather than each shot. This is especially good advice when you’re practicing, indoors or out. If you hit a bad shot, don’t change mechanics and swing thoughts, just take another shot. If you’re doing the right things, you’ll be okay. Of course, if you’re missing every shot then maybe you should rethink your mechanics and see a pro. But if you’re working on the right things, you’re still not going to hit every shot perfectly every time.”
- Eat and drink better. “First, drink as much water as you can. Second, have a small salad with dinner every night. Third, you don’t have to give up all the bad stuff—the pizza, cookies, cake, candy—but cut that stuff in half and you’ll immediately be healthier. Do that and drink more water and your life will be better.”
- Determine your level of commitment. “Understand where you are and what you’re trying to do it. Every one of my Tour player clients has a different level of commitment, time, finances, and energy. But they’ve all thought about how much work they are wiling to put into improving. You won’t have success if you don’t know yourself and how hard you are willing to work.”
Every membership includes a full physical evaluation by Shear’s staff and a golf swing evaluation by the professional staff. For more information, contact Jeannine Harrington, General Manager at (212) 244-2626 or go to www.golfbodynyc.com.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf