The great things about fall golf

This time of year often produces the best weather to play golf. It’s still warm enough to wear shorts but cool enough that you don’t melt on the course. It is also time to evaluate your season and plan for next year. Here are a few things to look at.

Your game: What did you do well this season? What was merely OK, and what was just plain bad? Over the winter months you should concentrate on the bad and spend some time in a dome working on it. I teach at the White Pines Dome in Bensenville, and it will be inflating in late October. It takes about a day to “pump it up,” and once inflated is the tallest golf dome in the country. Serious players will get to a dome once or twice a week in the winter. It is there that you should work on the bad stuff. Take a lesson from a PGA professional and get a list of things to work on. It could be everything from a simple grip change to a full-blooded swing change, but remember that change takes time, and who really wants to feel exactly the same about the past season at this time next year?

Your clubs: How old is your set? If it is more than five years old, you should probably think about getting some new ones. Golf shops offer deep discounts at this time of year so you will spend less and get better value. Test a few brands at the shop. Most have hitting areas indoors where you can get a feel for new equipment. If you can, make a return visit and see if your preferred set is still good before buying. It may be time for a new putter too. If you haven’t had success with the one you are currently using, a new club may get you more focused and hitting better putts.

Your other equipment: Do you need a new bag or glove or shoes? Prices are best at this time of year, so take advantage of the discounts and stock up a little for next season.

Your physical condition: Are you losing distance? While some of that is inevitable as you get older, there is no reason that you can’t start a stretching regimen. While we lose muscle mass as we age, we don’t have to lose flexibility. Stretching will bring back that flexibility and let you use your body more efficiently. I always suggest watching a TV show you like and when the commercials come on, get off the couch and stretch on the floor. Rotational stretches are best, but don’t forget your hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. The big muscles are vital in good golf swings.

Next week – taking a look at strategies for the upcoming high school tournaments (Regionals, Sectionals and State)

Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.