As the colder weather approaches, what are some good indoor drills to keep your game sharp throughout the off-season?
18 Professionals Contributed
30-Day Indoor Plan
In April I created a whole 30-day plan at with videos and a brief description of each day’s drill.
Mirror and Short Club
When it’s getting too cold or the time change interferes with your practice use a short club and mirror. If you get in the habit of swinging twenty swings a day in a mirror working on your setup and swing feels. You can make some changes and be very productive without the ball flight interfering with your learning.
Fitness makes a difference
First let me say that I moved from Oregon to Las Vegas twenty-one years ago for a reason. For those who live in climates that have a real winter, fitness and range of motion are perfect winter activities.
Putting and pitching techniques can be improved easily indoors. If you don’t have an indoor hitting area, swinging training aids like an orange whip can be very productive
Mirror, Mirror on the wall
Luckily I live in Southern California where we don’t have to worry about a “off-season.” However, I do advise students on how to keep there game sharp during the busy holidays when they don’t have time to practice or play. The same indoor practice routine would apply to areas of the country where they are shut down due to winter weather. I will quote Homer Kelly who wrote The Golfing Machine. As most teachers are aware The Golfing Machine is based on physics, math and the anatomy. It is the basis for Bryson DeChambeau’s scientific approach to his game. Homer Kelly suggests that learners should never trust feel alone. He said to watch closely- to “look, look, look,” and notice every detectable and distinguishable “feel.” Kelly said, “I suggest using mirrors. The single most important step you can make to improve your game, in my opinion, is to watch yourself in a mirror and look and learn sound adjustments. “Thousands of man hours are lost when effort is substituted for sound technique-trying to eliminate the effect instead of the cause, will not lead to progress.”
I have always believed that the best indoor practice one can do is to work in front of a mirror from face on and down the line. Then you can actually see what is happening, then attach a feel to what you are doing. I ask my students all the time, “what is always attached to the walls in a dance studio?” Besides the stretching bars there are always mirrors on the walls. Dancers are always looking at what they are doing, especially if they are learning a new dance routine. Most recreational golfers have to learn new feels and those positions will feel odd. Once they get used to practicing in front of a mirror they will see that the odd feels produce really sound looking positions. Lastly, this is not only a great way to practice when you are stuck inside but this is something golfers should do throughout the year.
Off season training
Yes it is that time of year again. You can definitely try to keep your game sharp during the off season. Here are a few things you can work on.
Short putting-most people can find a carpet with decent speed or you can purchase a putting mat. It’s a great time of year to firm up your five footers.
Flexibility-You don’t need to start a hot yoga class, but there are plenty of stretching exercises that you can do at home. As we age flexibility in the shoulders and hamstrings definitely seem harder to maintain.
Foot work/Lower body movement-This is one of the most common problems I see, poor lower body movement. It is a great time of the year to work on your balance and to especially work on your transition from backswing to forward swing.
Practice swings- I’m a big believer in getting 75 to 100 practice swings a day. It is a great way to work on your tempo, balance and sequencing. It’s also a great way to focus on swinging the club versus hitting the ball.
Speed training-Super Speed Golf has a great training program to help increase club head speed. If you have room to make full swings with a full length club I definitely recommend giving this program a try.
Putting and Fitness
I have always felt the winter months are best used for practicing putting and the stroke. There are many very good putting surfaces available for inside practice. I also think it is a good time of year to make a grip or stroke change without worrying about the impact that change will have on your score.
Off Season is also the best time to set up a good fitness schedule tailored for Golf Strength and flexibility. There is plenty of good information out there for golfers and you can start the Spring in great shape for improving your overall game.
During down time its so easy to lose your “feel” of your swing. Doing just 15 minutes a day of the drills that keep you “in touch” with your swing can keep you sharp when you get back on the course. If you don’t have some drills in mind I suggest the following (1) Feet together, ball on a tee using a 7 or 8 iron with the idea being to make roughly half distance shots with a slight draw. The half swings should stop where the lead arm ( left arm for a right hander) is parallel to the ground in the backswing, then the arms drop and rotate to the target side with the trail arm parallel ( right arm for a right hander) in the through swing.
This a great drill for players of all ability levels….you may be surprised at how solid and far the ball goes!
Work out, improve speed and balance!
If you have to put the clubs away for the winter, don’t stop swinging. Use some swing speed trainers or an Orange Whip to enhance your speed. A short 10 minute session once or twice a day can improve your speed so when it thaws out your ready to outdrive your couch potato buddies. You can also work on balance and strength with a simple golf swing enhancing work out. Google “golf enhancing work out” and then pick one of the 120 million (no kidding, I just did it) and give it a try.
The winter time is perfect for making posture and swing changes. I’m a firm believer that you CAN change your swing without a club and ball. What you need to do is change the sequence and way the body and arms work and move, and all you need is a mirror and lots of reps.
Most golfers don’t have good posture–find a picture both face on and down the line of Adam Scott, Tiger, Rory, any of the good players to mimic. You need sharp angles, a straight back, weight over the front of your ankles–not on the balls of your feet and spine tilt to the right (right handed golfer) face on.
I love the DEAD drill from Chuck Quinton (Rotaryswing.com) on You Tube. DEAD stands for Drill to End All Drills. It starts out by helping you understand how to get wound and loaded on the backswing, then the proper way to shift the weight, finally posting of the left leg which clears the left hip. You start doing this with your arms crossed across your chest, then you add the lead arm, then the lead arm with a club upside down and finally both arms and club right side up.
Work on the posture and DEAD drill in a mirror during the off season months and you’ll be amazed the changes you’ll see when the weather breaks in the spring.
Place a set of tee’s upside down , around a two foot circle. Putting up & down, try to lag everything in the circle. Putting on concrete will improve your touch. But wait…you will never be afraid of downhill putts again!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PGA Golf Professional
Chris Rudi Golf Services, Mishawaka, IN
Stretch like CRAZY
As the colder weather approaches, golfers are just happy to still be playing. But it’s a hassle to warm up on the range because it’s COLD. Players would rather ride than walk because it’s COLD. There’s very little practice sessions because it’s COLD. So my recommendation is to keep as flexible as possible. Use the warm water of the shower to stretch. Take an extra five minutes to get loose, in the shower. Stretch in the morning, stretch mid-day, stretch before bedtime. Because when the weather breaks for those 40-45 degree days in February and you want to play, the last thing you need is an injury. We run to the club, straight from the car to the first tee, and even without practice, you can play well enough to have fun and avoid injury. And being a diligent stretcher this winter will have you physically fit in the Spring to keep your game where it was in the Fall.
Indoor golf exercises
Good morning Golfers!
The best indoor workout to stay limber and gain strength at the same time is, invest in a TRX! I use mine twice a day and it has really helped with flexibility and I’ve added several yards to all my clubs!
Here are a few good ideas for improving your game indoors when the cold weather approaches. 1) Buy a putting mat to work on those short putts 2) practice your swing in front of a full length mirror and 3) plan out your strategy for each hole of the golf courses you regularly play so you’re very prepared for your next rounds.
Work on strength, speed, flexibility and conditioning
If you live in Idaho golf takes a back seat to hunting and skiing/snowboarding. Winter is the time to work on conditioning. I self admittedly hate the gym setting, but there are a lot of other ways to improve your game other than just lifting. I started doing pilates and love it. Going on some walks and just improving your overall fitness will pay huge dividends to your entire game.
Get on Utube and watch smooth swinging professionals…No Tiger, Rory, Dustin, Bryson, Jason, and the rest of the over-swingers!…Nice LPGA smooth swing video’s should help the overly amped up male golfer!( No, Alexis (Big Al) Thompson either!
Place a golf ball and a sneaker on the floor in a straight line. Set up to the golf ball and swing the club back pushing the sneaker out of the way. The resistance will teach you how to move the club back with the arms, hands, shoulders, and chest.
Better Physical Perception Better Seing
We get very little cold weather in Jupiter Florida so come play !
When working indoors I like to stretch and strengthen golf moves .An important part of this process is to improve our perception of how we move and how far each moves reaches.
Take your full swing address position with your hands crossed(lead hand over trail hand). Practice this without shoes. Now make full golf swings .Work to feel full torso rotation and arm extension. Work to develop a repeating rhythm in both back and forward directions. Now practice with your eyes closed. Pay particular attention to balance and how pressure changes across the bottom of your feet. .Develop a super slow swing and then add speed keeping posture and balance.Have your coach watch you and make suggestions.
Drills over the Winter
There so many way to improve inside, but this one of my favorites. Get in front a MIRROR, throw a magazines on the FLOOR open. Go get your 7 iron, now take your shoes off because we are going work on your set-up. With your FEET just on the corners of the MAGAZINE hold the club out in front of you, from there lower the Grip to your Belly Button. Now lower the Club head toward the FLOOR, you should feel like you are Bending forward, now Flex your KNEES a bit. With your shoes off you should be finding your balance. Now you can look in the Mirror to see how to are. Most likely you set up way different then you have been. This helps with a lot other things in the golf swing.