Here in Michigan playing golf is basically shut down. Below zero wind chills and several inches or more of snow have closed even those courses that try to remain open in the winter.
There are two elements of game improvement that I think are appropriate for a brief discussion, especially over the winter and heading into next golf season.
The first is maintaining some level of physical condition over the holidays and during the winter time. The second is whether everyone should get fitted for a new set of golf clubs.
1. Maintaining Fitness Level
Regarding a no-cost and simple process for maintaining some level of flexibility and fitness, I have suggested the Joel Harper exercise program, "Firming after 50". The upper body and the lower body workouts are all you need to maintain your flexibility and fitness. (Available from PBS (public) TV at http://www.dptvmedia.org/Joel-Harpers-Firming-After-50-DVD-p359.html.)
2. Getting Fitted for New Clubs
Many people will purchase new golf clubs for the holidays. Are they the right equipment for you?
There are great holiday sales on golf club sets, specialty clubs, and other golf equipment. (We provide great pricing on the products that we offer (e.g., golf gps, Swing Speed Radar, SwingRite). For the next several weeks, use our discount code DJ120111 during checkout to receive your customer appreciation discount. Currently this discount is available for all products.)
Should you be fitted for your golf clubs by an experienced fitter? Let me offer a brief real-world story that might help you with this decision.
I have a golfing friend who typically shoots between 95 and 105 or higher. He has a decent pre-shot routine and practice swing, but when he gets over the ball he develops a Charles Barkley like syndrome, as he significantly shortens his back swing and then chops at the ball with his forward stroke.
He decided that he could improve his game if he was custom fit for new clubs. He went to a well known fitter in the area who optimized the length, grip, loft, lie, shaft flex, swing weight, head design, etc. for his particular swing.
Since receiving his customized golf clubs he has yet to break 100. He said that he likes the feel of his new clubs, but his shot dispersion, inconsistency, and score have not improved.
For those of you who have taken our online golf instruction courses, you know that I emphasize that if your typical score is much above 90 you should improve your game through appropriate lessons and practice using your existing golf clubs before you get fitted for custom golf clubs.
I know this is contrary to what many golf instructors and golf fitters state. I believe, however, that with appropriate lessons you will improve your swing plane and perhaps your swing speed. These improvements will likely change the shaft selection and perhaps other parameters that are used to determine a proper fit.
For example, in the case of my friend, he consistently comes over the top because he swings hard with his right arm and shoulder. He does not allow the swing to actually swing. He hits at the ball primarily with his right hand. He abbreviates his backswing and then starts his forward stroke with his arms instead of with his weight shift and hip rotation.
A one-hour lesson and a few days of practice time would help him get the top of his back swing to a proper position so he could rely on the swing of his left arm and his hip rotation to bring the clubface back to square with the target line. This would increase his swing arc and his swing speed and keep his swing path inside the target line, regardless of which clubs he used.
The first step toward improvement is to identify your weakest points and put a plan in place to make an improvement in those areas. For many golfers, even experienced golfers, the weakest points are with their set-up and basic swing. If you cannot determine what faults might be causing your weak or dispersed shots, then be sure to work with a golf teaching professional to make certain that you are placing yourself in a good position so you can make a good shot. If you can work on your own, consider our online golf instruction courses, beginning with "Set-up, Swing, and Success". If you are in Michigan, contact me. I will be glad to help.
Keep in golf shape and Hit 'em straight,