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Winter Golf Training: How To Practice

If you’re serious about getting your handicap down, winning the club championships or seeing just how good you can get winter training is key for your development. In this article, we’ll cover a simple approach to see how you can optimise your training and progress over the winter.

Analyse stats & set goals

The first step is to reflect on your current golf game. Having some simple stats on fairways, greens hit, up and downs and putting should help you decide on the 2 or 3 areas that are going to lower your scores.

Below is a chart to help you analyse your basic stats, it isn’t perfect, but it gives you a good guide on where to focus.

Winter golf training analysis
Please note FIR stands for Fairways hit in regulation (did you hit the fairways with your tee shot). GIR stands for greens in regulation (Did you land on the green in: 1 shot for a Par 3, 2 shots for a Par 4 and 3 shots for a Par 5). For example, 9 out of 18 greens hit in regulation would lead to a 50% GIR (9/18) * 100).

Start in the top left corner, on level one. If you are currently averaging over 36 putts a round this is the biggest leak in your golfing scoring bucket. If your playing stats pass this metric move one to the right. Check if you achieve level one over 30% of up and down (for amateurs I class this as any shot inside 30 yards, for pros inside 50 yards).

Keep moving along to the right until you complete level one. Then move on to Level 2 and repeat the process. Pick the first two areas you fail on as your key practice priorities.

From this list dial down to 2-3 goals for your winter progress.

Building a Winter Training Plan

Next, you need to build a plan for how you are going to improve each area. The plan should consider the following aspects.

Technique

Work out what technical changes are required for each area. For example, if your putting stats are a weakness, work out if it is a direction or distance control problem, then decide how you need to develop your technique.

If you can, please do find a great local pro to help you with your technique. But if you can’t you can hopefully find some useful articles online, like our guides on mastering your putting grip and putting technique.

Here is a useful strategy to help you make swing changes.

Practice

For each area you’ve chosen to improve create a simple practice game you can play weekly to measure your progress. below are a couple of examples from Break X Golf.

The following game is a simple challenge you can play on a range or golf simulator to improve your approach play.

Par 18 below is a quick game to improve your short game. It doesn’t give you as many repetitions as hitting a block of 50 chips in a row, but it is very realistic and requires you to really plan each chip shot.

Track your score for the skills games each week and try to hit a new PB every time you play. It doesn’t matter too much what you score, it is about investing time into effortful, relevant practice throughout your winter training.

Conditioning

If you are dedicated to becoming better at golf through the winter, then it is well worth building a weekly conditioning programme. Most golfers focus on hitting the golf ball further and this can be very important for your scoring. However, improving your strength and conditioning also allows you to:

  1. Have better control of the golf club
  2. Practice for longer with better form.
  3. Feel fresher and make better swings on the 2nd 9 holes.
  4. Escape from bad lies and trouble.
  5. Recover quicker from all of your play and practice.

We haven’t created derail guides on golf training (yet), but here is an article on golf fitness if you want to dive into some of the science behind training for golf.

Psychology

Your mindset is key in transitioning any weakness into a strength. You’ll find that your confidence within a given skill lags behind as your skill level improves. You will be a better putter, but it will take you a long time to believe you are a better putter.

This is one of the reasons many golfers get frustrated with being able to execute in practice, but not when it counts on the course. To make a start, check out this guide on self-efficacy and make a few notes on how you can build your self-efficacy over the coming winter months.

How to practice golf in the winter – Summary

That wraps up our guide on winter practice and training. If you do want to improve your golf, the key is to focus specifically on the areas that are holding back your scoring.

Then take the time to craft some technical and skill development practice to improve these aspects. December to April can feel like a long time, but it is only 16 weeks! To get your golf in great shape you need a simple weekly plan you can repeat and track your progress.

If you do want a weekly practice plan built for you check out Break X Golf. Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article and want more, come join our free weekly newsletter.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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Will Shaw, PhD, MSc, PGA Pro

Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

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