My Dog Days of Winter

Stu and I taking advantage of no one on the practice area (Nov 2014)

My Dog Days of Winter

While it has been a tame winter in southern Ontario, unlike the Maritimes or parts of the prairies, golf has not been possible for me and like most Canadian golfers we are forced to wait until driving ranges open and shortly after, courses. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many options to actively engage golfers, maintaining both interests and skills so that come spring we’re ready to enjoy some fun and some success. Here is an overview of my ‘off season’ and my efforts to minimize its impact:

1. Pins are pulled.
I may be one of the last people to play golf in Ontario. Facts are I’ll play until they tell me I can’t. This alone compresses my off-season. I played this year on Christmas Eve and was tempted by the fact Tarandowah, outside of London, ON, opened their course briefly this January and February during an extended mild spell. Playing late is my first first tip to reduce the off season.

Christmas Eve – 2015.  A mild 14c.

2. Snow falls.
In most winters, it is impossible to think about getting out and playing. Early in the off-season, I use this time to clean and assess the state of my equipment. It can help to inform my wish list to Santa and re calibrates my thinking from playing to maintenance. My equipment is important to me and keeping it in good condition helps. I know I need to seriously consider my choice of golf ball storage, as The Grateful Golfer wrote about.

3. New Years
Like many, I assess goals and this year I have identified two golf related goals for myself. The first is to get into better shape. I am working with certified golf fitness instructor, Todd Marsh from Syracuse, NY. We met via #GolfChat and I am piloting a distance-based fitness program which is tailored to my needs based on a questionnaire and video assessment. I’m feeling great and already notice changes to my flexibility and ability to rotate around the ball in my swing. Second, is a plan to drop my index from 8.8 to under 5.  I will continue my lessons with Brian McCann from BGCC and will focus more on the short game. I am putting in my basement regularly with a focus on technique and pre shot routine.

4. Golf and Travel Show Season
I have written about this before and love the chance to engage with golf professionals and industry leaders. My engagement with the wonderful folks at Golf PEI supported important parts of my research and planning for my fall 2015 trip which you’ve all read about. The Toronto Golf Show whets the appetite for the coming year and allows a chance to try new equipment, plan golf trips, research memberships and simply immerse yourself in a day of golf dreaming and planning. When it is -15c that is not a bad thing.

5. The Masters
Where I live, this usually coincides with the opening of some courses and driving ranges. Even if winter is lingering, it is not long. I use this time to start to work on my full swing, even considering a golf dome (which I don’t enjoy), a golf simulator (which is better), or, if I could something more realistic like TopGolf or a new golf experience set to open in the United States, REALiTEE GOLF. The industry is making great advancements to allow players to enjoy golf off the course. Check them all out!

6. First Round
Nothing is better. It often looks like I am playing on the moon; the ground is wet and the grass dormant grey but I am playing outdoors and after a winter of patiently practicing and planning, I am ready to have at it.

Of course, there are other options. A trip south; reading; or even getting fitted for new equipment. All of these can generate the excitement and help pass the time during the dog days of winter.

Casting shadows on Christmas Eve early in the morning at Hidden Lake Golf Club