Sadly, as I write this, there is more than a foot of snow outside my office window. Here in Minnesota, the snowblowers are warmed up, and the lawnmowers are undercover. Most golfers don’t touch a club during our four-month winter. If you can avoid that, and pick up a club in the off-season (even if it’s a putter) your game will benefit come spring. Or at least that’s what they tell me.
Keeping your “golf muscles” in shape during the winter is a good idea. You’ve gotta hit the range (or build one yourself) in order to keep your feel and keep it real. You can do this a number of ways.
1. Hit up a dome.
Braemar Dome in Edina is a popular – and centrally located – way to go. It’s the “largest, longest golf dome in the Twin Cities” according to the site. It may also be the loudest if you’re hitting a Nike Sasquatch or Cleveland Hi Bore. So either bring earplugs if you plan on staying awhile, or be prepared to catch a few discerning looks. Don’t be that guy. Country Air Golf Park (turn down volume before clicking link) just off 94 in Lake Elmo has heated outdoor stalls. And it’s open all day every day. Grass or mats available, apparently (how do they grow grass in the winter?). Here’s a comprehensive list.
2. Choose wisely.
Whether you go indoor, or outdoor, choose a winter practice facility that works for you. Indoor, there are no elements to deal with and the ball will travel farther. Outdoors, in the friggin’ freezing cold, ball not go as far. Also, keep in mind that if you are hitting irons off harsh, hard surfaces for any length of time, it’s likely going to be a detriment to your clubs and your wrists, FYI. A truestrike mat, while better than most, will wear after a season or two – giving you uneven lies aka you balls moves in the middle of your backswing.
They are fun and every one is different. I have played at A Lot of Green Golf in Burnsville. It’s a fun bachelor party spot (you can find discount coupons for golf and tap beer). If you’re using a simulator for fun, truly for practice, or just to keep those golf muscles in shape, try and remember to pick a target, check your set-up and get something out of your practice routine and not just see how far you can hit it (although it is really fun going all Zuback).
4. Build your own.
Golf mats and nets come in all shapes, sizes and options. Do a little research, and build/set up your range in your garage or basement (just make sure you’ve got 12-15 feet of clearance from ceiling, light bulbs). Here are some golf mat reviews. Also, check out Amazon for deals. Callaway makes a decent, portable net, this one looks cool, and the Hank Haney series (available at Golfsmith) is more affordable, but may not be as durable. These Birdie Balls look awesome for backyard fun.
See you at the 19th hole.