Now that the golf season has officially ended in Saskatchewan (Oct. 31 was last day to record rounds for handicapping purposes) the question becomes, what do I do for the winter to keep my game up to my standards?
Winnipeg based Derek Ingram, the coach for Canada’s National Amateur Team and the Canadian Young Pro Squad said taking advantage of indoor facilities over the winter months will definitely keep your game at your level.
“A lot of facilities in Manitoba, and I’m sure in Saskatchewan as well provide an opportunity to play virtual golf, golf domes, or indoor golf schools, I think those are good options to keep swinging,” Ingram told Golf Saskatchewan. “Not only are they social they allow you to work with your local pro or practice on your own. It’s a long cold winter so it can help make it more fun and interesting. It can also help you make progress with your game.”
Ingram has been in the golf simulator business in the past going back to the mid-to-late 1990’s. He is a firm believer playing virtual golf can fill the void for players that feel the urge to play during a six-month offseason. It cures the bug to swing and you can also improve your game according to Ingram.
“The technology on those simulators now is really good, they are very impressive,” he said. “It’s fun to play a round of virtual golf, it’s so similar to a round of real golf. Obviously you are not outside, and you don’t hear the real birds chirping or walk quite as much. It’s still some exercise and there is some benefits to the game in terms of how far you are carrying the ball and depending on the simulator and the information they have you can get a tonne of valuable information on your swing that you can work on and improve.”
Another way Ingram encouraged players to get better is a product called SuperSpeed Golf. The company, that Ingram has no connection to, provides a time manageable training program to help golfers improve club speed. Ingram said he’s used the SuperSpeed model with many professionals and top-notch amateurs in his coaching lessons.
“One of the great things in the winter is to try and get longer and get a bit more speed,” he explained. “SuperSpeed is a fairly inexpensive product that really works well in terms of learning to hit the golf ball further. There’s additional benefits as well in terms of subtly and athletically improving people’s technique without even realizing it by doing the SuperSpeed exercise protocol.”
If you live in a market where visiting an indoor facility isn’t an option, Ingram said working on your game in the comfort of your own home can be an alternative. He added that practicing your short game and putting is beneficial and fun during the cold days.
“For juniors and amateurs there has to be a room in the house where you can get your sand wedge out and pitch a few balls into a laundry basket. If you have a carpet or a putting mat which I think as well if you are watching golf or bored, it’s a lot of fun. That can help as well, you learn to pitch a little higher and softer, putting is always good, plus it is a lot of fun,” Ingram said.
The weather in Canada essentially closes courses from Halloween to early May except for some British Columbia facilities and others across the nation. For the prairies, working on your game indoors is the only option. Ingram encourages the tips and tricks he explained but also said taking some time off can be a benefit as well.
“I do encourage players to take a break. I have no issue with players taking November and December off, but then I think it’s time to start training. If you are a competitive golfer or just somebody that loves the game and wants to get better it’s time to start getting to your dome or getting to hit balls, seeing your pro, or hitting your simulators, or just getting some clubs out in the basement. I love the SuperSpeed Golf because you can workout to get longer and stronger and it feels good,” Ingram said.
“There’s certainly lots to do,” he concluded.