Embracing golf’s off-season

This is about our off season here in Canada. Not the PGA Tour, where the off-season is 3 days long before wraparound events start up. In Ontario, October 31 was the end of the golf season in terms of officially recording scores toward your index. In what was the most unique golf season, likely for many of us, I ended with an index of 12.5 This is something I am not impressed with. I know people don’t care what anyone (including me) shoots, but each of us wants to play our best. Historically my off-season regime was watching the PGA Tour on TV, eating chips, and maybe going to an indoor simulator a couple times a month to keep the swing loose.

Of course, stretching the season out longer into the fall months means a shorter off season. Some parts of Canada are simply more privileged than others. Here, at Grand Niagara, fall is a great time of year to play.

But what if I really tried? What if I made a commitment to improve and was prepared to work at it? Well, here, in digital print form, is my commitment and plan to do that. For the next 365 days I am going to embark on a six step plan to improve as a golfer. My goal is to improve, ideally getting back to a single digit index, but improvement and fun are the broader goals for me. I will do something specific every single day with en eye to improve my performance. It’s November 2 today so today is my second day. Yesterday I made 100 swings, but more on that later. Here are the components of my plan:

Assess my game – this will be a holistic assessment. I will consider my equipment, my attitude, my swing – everything. I will examine all components of my game and try to focus more on the weaker areas. I enjoy critical reflective activities and this will be fun for me. Included in this will be some reading and writing.

Getting my mind golf-fit will help and there are many books I have which I will re-read, this time with a greater purpose.

Exercise – Here, routine will be key. I have a set of stretching bands which I will dig out, dust off and get using again. Similarly with some free weights. I will talk to people I know who are serious about fitness and put a plan in place for myself which is realistic and attainable.

Self explanatory, really.

Diet – This one will be based more on some basic principles: no alcohol from Sunday to Thursday; eat fruit every day; and consume nothing after 8pm (which is when boredom leads to bad snacking for me). These alone should help me considerably.

Club Fitting – I have relatives in the US who are sitting on a set of New Level irons for me and once it’s safe for them to come to Canada I will connect with Ryan Barath to get these 623’s tuned up to specs ideal for me. Other clubs will come along for the ride but I am confident they are well suited for my game. Of course, this is where cheeky comments could come in about my mallet putter, but my Ping is custom fit and that will get grooved over the winter on my BirdieBall putting mat.

Lessons – I have connected with my former instructor, Brian McCann, who I worked with during his time at Brampton GCC. He is now head professional at Centennial Park Golf Centre and will be setting up a winter lesson centre. Getting the fundamentals locked down and having a set of professional eyes to determine what needs improvement is something I am looking forward to this off season.

Practice – (I always think of that Allan Iverson rant when I think of practice). Unlike Iverson, I like practice. I can get my fix within a 30-60 minute practice session and it’s one thing about Covid which seriously impacted my game and golf experience this season. However, saying that was also a flimsy excuse so i will work on setting up indoor practice space (my garage ceiling is 9′ high and I have a 1″ thick 4′ x 4′ golf mat which I can use to practice, along with a chipping net). Hank Haney is a big proponent of 100 swings a day to improve and that will be a positive default activity for me.

Seeing Tiger with a mallet putter is one of my favourite images. It drives @GolfIsMental crazy but reflects his drive to never settle.

Combined, these 6 steps over the next calendar year should help give me my best chance to play my best and help make the game more enjoyable for me. And there’s the health benefits too, which can not be discounted.

I’ll keep you updated with some posts throughout the winter and wish you all a healthy and happy off-season. The fact that The Masters is set to tee it up next week is kicking off this off season better then any I can recall.


Mildly addicted to the game of golf. Fiercely loyal. A planner, a dreamer, reflective and a proud and passionate Canadian. A father. A fiancé. A tree planter. A Trent graduate. A dog owner. Falling in love with my putter after many failed relationships. A scratch golfer stuck in a 10 handicap body. Love, love, love golf value. Fade on a good day. One ace (and seeking a second). A golf writer/blogger focused on public golf in Canada. Chipping away at my own Bucket List of Canadian golf courses.

4 thoughts on “Embracing golf’s off-season

  1. Mike,

    Looks like you are well on your way to a great off-season. We had snow last night and a huge storm, so I can relate to the closing of golf season. I will continue to check in and see how you progress….my plan is coming out soon.

    Cheers Jim

    1. Thank you, Jim. Sorry to hear about the weather, but then there is always a lag between the abrupt end of a season and when we’re ready for it, lol. I look forward to reading about your plan and keeping connected over the winter months. We’re getting a final blast of milder weather later this week so there’s at least one more round in my future, after that we will see. Cheers, Mike

  2. Mike, great plan. Looks like you have all the bases covered. Will you connect with your instructor and be able to practice in an indoor facility?


    1. Thank you, Brian. Yes, my instructor will have an indoor facility base for lessons this winter. It’s a nice, bright, spacious facility and it will feel nice to hit next season without a sense of playing catch up in getting my game up to speed. Hope you’re doing well. Take care and stay safe. Cheers, Mike

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