With autumn leaves about to blush in northern climates, it’s time to start reflecting on your golf performance this season. Write down what you worked on this year, what needs work, and what your goals are going forward. If you’re content with your current level of play you should be asking yourself what you are going to do to retain that level into next season. If you’re not happy with your game, you should be asking yourself what you can do now and in the off-season to get off to a faster start next year. As Ben Hogan famously said, “Every day that I miss practicing takes one day longer to get good.”
What the average player should be doing is working on their game now before the season ends. It’s never too late to take lessons to get started even at the end of the season. The best players in the world have coaches who they see regularly. Mastering the proper swing fundamentals and short game technique are things that you can take into the off-season and practice at home on the carpet or in front of a mirror. People think that you need to hit balls to get better which is simply not true. If you can regularly practice the proper swing positions in front of a full length mirror, you’ll have those new positions perfected by the time spring rolls around.
The other thing you’ll want to start is a workout program or better yet work with a qualified personal trainer to develop a routine that is golf specific with lots of stretches and balance exercises, both of which will have a measurable impact on distance and consistency. Yoga is also a wonderful way of increasing flexibility and something that can be done throughout the entire year.
The off-season is also a great time to catch up on your reading. The book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan, is a timeless classic that covers the key fundamentals where all great golf begins. Another is The Natural Golf Swing by the late Canadian golfing great George Knudson who takes Hogan’s book one step further when it comes to actually swinging the club. It’s complete with a series of exercises that can easily be performed at home. Both books are worth reading over and over again. And if there’s a book on the mental side of golf, it’s anything written by Dr. Bob Rotella the bestselling author of Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect and the most sought after mental coach in the game. His book Putting Out of Your Mind, is arguably the best book ever written on this essential skill and one of the key elements of a winning game – great putting.
Finally, have your equipment checked by a qualified club fitter. While it’s tempting to have the latest equipment every year, there’s no magic cure to posting lower scores. When you don’t see immediate improvement you start looking at new equipment again and it becomes a vicious circle. Checking your lie angles, making sure that you have the right shafts, and a new set of grips to start the new season can make all the difference in the world.