One of the few downsides to this great game is that sadly, for most of us, there is an off season. Unless you live somewhere warm, chances are you have to take a few months off of golf. Or, sneak out when the sun pops out between rain and cold weather.
It’s painful for us dedicated golf junkies to hang up the clubs and do other activities. But unless you want to move, it’s part of life.
For a lot of people, they do other activities. But for those of us who are obsessed with the game, our golf mind never turns off. If that sounds like you, we have some strategies to help you sharpen and actually improve your golf game. Even if you can’t make it to the course regularly, these 19 tips will help you play better golf once the season starts again.
As much as we all love golf, sometimes a good break can help wonders. It will help both your body and mind, as the sport is taxing on both.
I know it’s hard to take time off from the sport that we all love, but it can really help. Stepping away from the game occasionally will help you get your body back to normal, eliminate pesky swing thoughts, and wipe the slate clean.
A good off season should include plenty of rest and relaxation. That way, when the weather does improve, you will be eagerly awaiting that first tee time and fall in love with the game even more than before.
If you want to actually improve your golf game in the off season, I would argue this is the best step out there. Do not get on YouTube and go down the rabbit hole of all things golf. This many swing thoughts/ideas will lead to overwhelm, confusion, and usually hurt your game more than it will help.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting fellow golfers and coaches, but sometimes it’s easy to get into information overload. As one of my coaches said, “Too much thinking equals too many shots.”
If you know that you have a weak area of your game, then you might need help with some mechanical issues. I’m okay with that, but just don’t want you endlessly watching hundreds of videos thinking it will help your game.
The off season is a great time to get stronger and build your body into better shape. While you don’t have to put on 20+ pounds of muscle like Bryson DeChambeau did during the pandemic, extra muscle can help your game. Plus, you won’t have to worry about practicing or playing while you’re super sore, either.
The biggest areas to focus on are your legs and core.
While most guys would rather skip legs for a chest workout, I promise it’s worth it. When you strengthen your legs, you can build more effortless power into your swing.
Not to mention, staying strong and healthy will allow you to play more golf for a longer time too. If you’re not sure what to focus on, make sure to read the article for the best golf workouts that we put together.
Flexibility can have an enormous impact on your golf game.
The more flexible you are, the more you can make a full turn, bigger backswing, and likely hit it much longer. Plus, it can help you avoid injuries so that you can play pain free and enjoy the game.
I’ll be honest, if you’re like me, you probably hate stretching. It’s boring and doesn’t feel very enjoyable, am I right?
But if you have the discipline to do it regularly, it can really help your body allow you to swing more efficiently. Even 5-10 minutes every morning is better than nothing!
Whether it’s the off season or not, one tip from Tiger Woods’ old swing coach Hank Haney is to swing 100 times per day. But the trick is to not use a club or golf ball.
Instead, take 100 practice swings with an imaginary club at 50-60% speed.
Doing this will help you get out of always thinking about results and instead keep your body in golf mode. Plus, you never know, you might figure out a breakthrough swing thought in the process.
If you keep your ear to the golf world, chances are you know the most talked about thing is distance. It feels like a never ending debate about wanting to curb distances so that golf courses stand a chance.
But even if they do anything in the future, I think distance will always play a pivotal role in the game. That’s why you need to increase your swing speed.
To hit it further, you need more speed!
That’s why I highly suggest setting up a formal speed training program. If you want to add distance to your game, the off season is arguably the best time to do it. This way it won’t interfere with your swing and you can come back in the next season like a new man.
Here are two strategies to help you add more speed to your game.
The first recommendation is to try speed training with weight SuperSpeed golf swing sticks. These are weighted clubs to help increase your speed by reprogramming your muscles. While it won’t happen overnight, they can do wonders for your game.
SuperSpeed Golf says that it can, “Increase the speed and power of your golf swing by 5% to 8% in as little as 4-6 weeks of regular practice.” That can result in 10, 20 or even 30 extra yards off the tee. Imagine how much that would impact your game with approach shots and proximity to the hole!
The best part is that you don’t have to use these for hours to get results.
The entire speed training routine takes 7-10 minutes only 2-3 times per week. Plus, they have an online learning library to walk you through the process for maximum results.
If you do choose this route, my biggest tip is to stay consistent and trust the process. If they work for players on the PGA and LPGA Tour, it’s safe to say they’re a very effective training aid.
The second strategy to help you speed up your swing is by committing to speed training sessions. Instead of going to the range for your normal session, go with one goal in mind – speed.
A Golf article said that top amateur Preston Summerhays (son of top 100 teacher, Boyd Summerhays) used this strategy and found massive results. His dad told him, “Go swing as hard as you freaking can. It’s as simple as that.” Now, he does three range sessions of 30 minutes per week with the only goal of swinging as fast as he can. It did wonders to his game.
This is something you can do too. Even if you have to use an indoor practice facility if the weather is bad, it’s a great way to evolve your golf muscles for maximum speed. Don’t worry so much about the results of the shot, but instead, focus on speed above all else.
To analyze your swing speed further, I suggest using a launch monitor or some sort of training aid to monitor your progress. These distance driven range sessions paired with regular use of SuperSpeed sticks can have an enormous effect on your game.
I would argue that the best thing you can do for your game in the off season is to analyze your past few months. Instead of looking ahead to the future, spend some time assessing your game so that you understand what to do to improve.
So many golfers skip this step and then wonder why they don’t get better. As the great Harvey Penick said, “In golf, your strengths and weaknesses will always be there. If you could improve your weakness, you would improve your game. The irony is that people prefer to practice their strengths.”
I honestly couldn’t agree more. It’s fun to work on your strengths, but not nearly as much to struggle and work on your weaknesses. But this is how you improve and start to shoot the scores you always knew that you could.
You can analyze and review your game in a variety of ways. If you use a golf stat tracking app, you can review the performance of the past few months.
Make sure to look at:
- Total score
- Fairways in regulation
- Greens in regulation
- Up/down percentages
- Blow up holes
- Number of putts per round
If you don’t have a formal tracking system yet, do your best to remember the past few rounds. Or, feel free to ask a friend that you trust, as I’m sure he’ll have a few ideas as well.
Then, once it’s clear what to work on, make a plan to improve it asap. Spend 70-80% of all practice time on the weak parts of your game for a huge turnaround.
The off season is a great time to tinker with your set of clubs and try out new equipment. It’s not ideal to do this in the middle of the season, as you might get in your head and throw off your game. Instead, wait until the slower times to test out new golf gear that you’ve been wanting to test.
Find a local store like the PGA Superstore or Golf Galaxy to test out new clubs. When you do, make sure to bring your own clubs too. This way, you can use their professional launch monitors to measure the new club’s performance vs. your existing clubs.
If you did an analysis of your game, it should be clear what you need to help you shoot more consistent scores. For example, in 2020 I analyzed my past few months and realized how much I was losing out from the 200-220 yard range. I would often hit great drives on par 5’s, but walk away with pars instead of birdies or eagles.
The main reason wasn’t my swing, but the 4 iron I was playing. So I tested out hybrids and more forgiving, driving irons instead. The winner was clear as I went with Titleist driving iron instead of my normal, semi-blade 4 iron.
The tweak made a huge difference and it went from my worst part of my game to one of the best. Now, I hit that club whenever I need a fairway finder or need to find the green from 200+ yards.
Analyze your game so that you can test out new clubs and convert your weaknesses into your strengths.
Never underestimate how much of golf is a mental game above all else.
If things aren’t good mentally, it’s nearly impossible to play your best golf. As Dr. Bob Rotella said, “I tell people: If you don’t want to get into t positive thinking, that’s okay. Just eliminate all the negative thoughts from your mind, and whatever is left will be fine.”
One of the best things you can do is hire a sports psychologist for an hour. It could literally change your life and golf game.
I know it sounds cliché, but hear me out. If the best players in the world use a sports psychologist, why don’t you?
A few years ago I was hitting a plateau and not with my swing but with my mental game. I felt like my mindset was holding me back from scoring my best, especially in tournaments. So I went on Google and typed in “Sports psychologists near me.”
Pretty quickly, I found a guy who had an informative website and seemed to speak to the issues I was having. The next week we had our first call and I took about 10 pages of notes. It was literally game changing and gave me a whole new perspective on golf.
To this day, I still use a lot of what I learned to stay positive, optimistic, and hopeful about my game. Usually, you can buy 1-2 sessions and in my experience, it’s well worth it.
Life is too short to let your mind hold you back in any area, especially golf!
The off season is arguably the best time to improve the part of your game that matters most – the short game.
With courses being closed, this is a great opportunity to finally work on your putting. Instead of skipping the putting green to go bang balls at the course, use this time to hone your stroke.
Invest in an indoor putting green so you can use it on a regular basis. You can use it while watching TV, master short range putts, and also refine your pre-shot putting routine.
Another way to help your short game is by investing in a set of chipping baskets. You can set these up under a patio or outdoors to help work on your chipping game. This will help you from around the greens and save a ton of strokes.
Paired with a great putting routine, your game will be on fire when the season starts again.
While I suggest avoiding the YouTube rabbit hole, there are some great resources to help you better understand your game. These are taught by elite coaches and players to help your game.
One of my favorites is the Golf Digest School. These have a library of videos to help you with all aspects of golf. Heck, even Tiger Woods has 10+ videos on there, which is a goldmine for golfers who want to know the secrets of one of the best players ever.
Not to mention, there are videos from other top guys, including:
- Luke Donald
- Justin Thomas
- Colin Morikawa
Another good resource is one called Decades Golf. This is a subscription program that is an advanced stat tracking app, but also has tons of other features. While it’s geared towards young players who want to become pros, it’s still good for any age golfer.
Inside the program, they have tons of tips and tricks to help you with course management, mental game tips, and more. Not to mention, the advanced stat tracking will help you better understand your game so you can improve your weaknesses.
With all this extra time on your hands daydreaming about golf, put it to good use. Plan the next golf trip with your friends and family. Or, you can splurge and even make it a bucket list golf trip with places like Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hills, St. Andrews, and others.
Another great way to spend your idle time is to master your pre-shot routine.
You don’t even need a club, ball, mat or net to make this happen. Set aside time a few times per week (maybe before your workout or speed training) and go through your entire pre-shot routine.
That way, when it’s time to tee it up, it will feel automatic. Click here to learn how to create your own pre-shot routine.
If you have the itch to golf but most courses or driving ranges are closed, find a TopGolf location near you. TopGolf is great because even if the weather is awful, they’re still open. They have heated bays so you don’t have to worry about staying warm.
Plus, you can swing the club, hang with friends, and eat great food. If you haven’t been to one yet, we highly encourage it. I’ve yet to meet a golfer who didn’t enjoy this golf version of Disneyland.
When you do visit one, make sure to read, “How to Play TopGolf” to make the most of your golfing experience.
With extra time on your hands, it might be time to clean the garage and sell your old golf clubs. Instead of letting them collect dust and take up space, sell them online.
You can use apps like OfferUp or Craigslist to connect with people in your area. Or, if you don’t have much luck there, never forget the power of eBay as well.
You can use this money for your day-to-day life, or, you can invest it back into your golf game. Use this money to buy more golf balls, get fresh new wedges, or finally get the new driver that you’ve been wanting.
Don’t forget, playing the right clubs and new technology makes the game a little easier. In a sport this challenging, we’ll never say no to any advantage that we can get.
If you have never sold clubs before, no problem, we got you covered. Click here to learn how to sell golf clubs online.
When it’s dark, cold, and wet outside, sometimes the best thing to do is unplug and relax. Instead of mindlessly watching another series on Netflix, use this chill time to work on your game.
The first thing you can do is read specific golf books. This is a great way to learn some new swing ideas and mental tricks to make the most of your game. Plus, you can even learn about the history of the game by reading books like “The Masters” which documents the famed history of Augusta.
Or, if you don’t love reading, why not throw on a golf movie instead? We compiled a list of our best movies for golfers to make it easy for you to find one.
Lastly, you can always queue up YouTube to watch some videos that will get you excited about golf. I love watching Tiger in 2000-2001 to get me fired up about the game.
Unless you live in a place that gets so cold that courses shut down for months at a time, chances are you can still get out occasionally. While the course won’t be anywhere near perfect and the weather will still be challenging, sometimes you need to do it.
During these rounds, don’t take things too seriously.
Since you’re probably working on your game and taking time off, it’s not likely going to be the round of your life. Plus, the weather will probably make golf even more difficult thanks to cold, wet, and/or windy conditions.
But getting yourself to the course, even if the conditions aren’t perfect, is still better than nothing. It’s always fun to get out of the house and enjoy a round on the links.
Plus, one of the biggest benefits is that the course will likely be empty compared to peak season. If you can, sneak out solo or with a buddy and have some fun on the course.
Instead of playing a formal 9 or 18 holes, mix it up. Play a 2-ball, worst ball or only play with odd or even clubs in the bag. Or, play from different tee boxes to mix up your course strategy.
Drop golf balls all over and hit shots that you don’t normally get to practice like fairway bunkers, high pitches over trees, and anything else. This will help make the most of your round and take advantage of the lack of golfers on the course.
If you want even more than all these tips for the off season, it might be time to build your own indoor golf facility at home. With a net, mat, launch monitor and other accessories, you might end up playing more golf in the winter than in the summer.
Luckily, there are more options than ever for the committed golfer who just can’t get enough of this game. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the entire process, don’t worry, we got you covered.
The final way to sharpen your game in the off season is to set some golf goals for the upcoming season. Instead of just hoping and praying that you start shooting lower scores, set clear goals and make a plan for them.
One of my favorite goal strategies came from the book, Mastering Golf’s Mental Game by Dr. Michael T. Lardon. It has a foreword from the reigning PGA Champion Phil Mickelson so you know it’s good.
As he said in the book, “If you want to improve and become a smart golfer, you need to build a set of specific, clear, productive goals toward that end. When I say “productive,” I mean an appropriate mix of process oriented and results-oriented goals, both short-term, and long-term – ones that are attainable without being too easy.”
Here’s an example of a good goal from Dr. Lardon that combines all the above. Let’s say after analyzing your game, you realize that your short game is holding you back. Instead of avoiding it, make a clear plan of action to improve around the greens.
Start by setting a process-oriented goal, like “50% of my time practicing will be with chipping/pitching and putting for the next two months.” In this time, find an instructor you trust and work on the mechanics of the short game.
After you improve your technique, then create a long-term goal that is results oriented. For example, commit to averaging 60% up and downs from 30 yards and in.
Don’t make the mistake of just setting results goals.
As he said in the book, “Players at every level typically make the mistake of loading up on results-oriented goals; win a tournament, finish in the top fifty in money, qualify for the championship flight of the club championships.”
After working with a sports psychologist in the past, he said something similar. The main thing is to not set just result goals like “Win the club championship” or “Qualify for the Senior Am” as it puts too much pressure on a specific event.
Instead, have a mix of process and results oriented goals to keep your game moving forward.
Do you have even more questions about how to spend your off season? If so, hopefully we have the answers below in our frequently asked questions.
Depending on where you live, yes, there usually is a golf season. Some places in the country that get to play golf year around include golf hubs like California, Arizona, and Florida.
The PGA Tour doesn’t have much of an off season, though. It seems like once the FedEx cup playoffs are over, there is usually the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. Then the season starts back up for the newcomers on the PGA Tour as well.
But in general, the main downtimes for professional golfers is November-December. Then, the main season starts again with tournaments in Hawaii and the West Coast swing in January.
Some golfers choose to work on their game while others get away from golf and do other sports like ski, hunt or fish. It really depends on where you live, how committed you are to improving your game, and what your schedule allows.
As you can tell, there are tons of ways to make the most of your off season. Don’t sit around and waste this time, as it can help your game tremendously.
But remember the first tip to – get plenty of rest. Sometimes a break from the game is needed to help you appreciate the sport and get your mind/body right.
Specifically, use this time to get your mind and short game in the right spot for the season. The more control you have of your thoughts and emotions on the golf course, the better you will play. Paired with a strong body and solid short game, you will become unstoppable!