by Sean McGowan, PGA
With Autumn approaching quickly and even less daylight to see the ball fly, now is a great time to take stock in your game, your gear and develop a plan that will get you through the rainy months ahead.
First, take a look at your gear – not necessarily clubs but shoes, gloves, rain gear and warm weather clothing. Are you using the same gear from years past that didn’t really get the job done? Now is a terrific time to shop for golf clothing and accessories because pro shop managers are starting to mark down their inventory. Don’t hesitate to call the private clubs and ask for a deal, they are happy to sell off their stuff to non-members! Don’t wait until the weather turns to buy that cool moisture-wicking, dri-fit undershirt or those waterproof shoes.
Second, make a practice plan for the coming months. As many of you already know, I am a huge advocate of short game practice and hitting shots less than full. Purchase a range deal and practice hitting 100 shots per day to 160 yards or less with all the clubs in your bag three times a week. During cold and rainy weather the ball doesn’t fly far anyway, so why practice long shots?
Third, take one more out of town trip to the coast or the mountains or your favorite course in the Willamette Valley or Southern Oregon. You might find a deal on gear at one of these courses and extend summer at the same time. It’s good for your soul.
Fourth, stop playing stroke play. The club championship is over and your handicap isn’t going to change much in the next two months so forget about posting a score and change the games you play with your friends. Match play games are a blast and the wagering possibilities are endless. Alternate shot matches are especially intriguing.
Fifth, plan a winter time trip right now. I’m not talking about Hawaii or Mexico, although that would be great. Look at St. George, Utah, Reno, Arizona and California – even Brookings, Oregon can be nice in February. Lock in your rates now for the best deals. Get a large group together and your rates get even better.
Six, it’s never too early to eat right and exercise. I highly recommend purchasing an Orange Whip. This is the best warm-up and swing maintenance tool I have ever used. No one is paying me to say this. Incorporate the Orange Whip into your daily exercise routine and you’ll be in top form come next March. And, keep walking during the winter months. If you can walk the golf miles around the golf course, you can walk to the store and back to buy bacon.
Seven, keep your brain active. Golf is a very creative outlet with a great deal of input constantly arriving in your noggin. When you stop playing golf, you not only stop firing shots, you stop firing creative energy. Turn off the television and read a golf architecture book. Do the crossword, jumble and Sudoku. Play a musical instrument or paint. Keep your creative mind fresh and you just might look at the course in a whole different way.
Eight, teach the game. You know your way around the pro shop, the practice areas and the course so why not introduce someone you love to this great game? One of the best ways to improve any activity is to teach others. And if your student starts to question your sanity and method, that’s when you send them to a professional. We’re always happy to help.
See you on the first tee!