Naomi Ko (Golf Canada Archive)

Embrace the off-season

Many of us head south in the off-season to continue to play golf while many other’s hunker down to survive Old Man Winter. At the elite player level, winter offers a chance to get more physically fit so that next season is an improvement on the past. Our emerging pros and amateur players work on becoming stronger, fitter and more flexible so they can more easily make the technical adjustments to hit the ball longer, straighter and more consistently. No matter who your swing coach is or what amazing magazine article on swing plane dynamics you have read, your physical limitation will determine which of those technical changes you can make.

The off -season can also provide the opportunity to try new activities that will complement your golf game. We recommend you try the following activities between now and the spring; each of these activities will improve your strength, flexibility, balance and cardiovascular fitness.


INSIDE

Gym

Purchasing a winter membership or punch pass is all that is required at many commercial gyms. Membership brings access to a multitude of exercise equipment and group classes to keep you motivated over the cold months. Finding a gym with a strength and conditioning expert who has expertise in golf is always a bonus. Focus on exercises that improve strength in the glutes, quads, lower abdominals, and stabilizers of the lateral pelvis and shoulder blades.

Home gym

All you need to create an effective home gym is a few resistance bands, mini bands, stability ball and a foam roller. Hiring a strength and conditioning expert to write you a winter program using this equipment would be best and would be advised to make sure your program is focused on where you need to improve. It will also keep you motivated as the thinking has already been done for you.

Yoga

Sign up for a novice or easy/gentle class at your local yoga studio. Although a golf- specific yoga class is ideal, you will improve your game with any class. To see the most improvement, jump into two yoga classes a week and perhaps by the time the snow melts you will be trying the occasional advanced class.


OUTSIDE

Skiing

Yes, believe it or not, a day on the slopes will help you gain more distance on your drives come spring. Focus on engaging your glutes and quads and working on your balance as you carve your way down the hill.

Cross-country skiing

This is an incredible way of improving balance, combined strength in your legs and arms as well as cardio fitness as you transfer your weight from ski to ski. Cross-country skiing is probably the best winter activity that trains weight transfer in a golfer.

Snowshoeing

This is a sport that you can make as challenging as you feel you want to on any particular day. A longer slower day out in the Canadian wilderness allows you to enjoy the scenery and the company of your fellow snowshoers while improving the endurance strength of your legs and arms (if you are using poles). Or, you can really push the pace for a shorter more intense day out, which improves the strength and power of your legs.