First Published by WomensGolf.com
Don’t be defeated by the cold weather. Cindy Miller has some great ways to improve your swing, alignment, and putting during the winter months.

Did you know that winter can be the perfect time to improve your golf game? We are very fortunate to have two golf domes in our area for indoor practice, but even if you don’t have access to similar facilities, there are some great ways to sharpen your game when it is too cold to play or practice outdoors.

First, though, you need a plan. Here are a few questions for you to consider:

1. What would you love to change?
2. If you could fix one thing about your game, what would it be?
3. How much time/money are you willing to invest in improving?

If you can realistically look at your game, it will help. Sometimes we don’t really need to change too many things to make a big difference.

Brittany and Brooke Henderson - Ben Harpring
It wasn’t Canada cold but Brittany and Brooke Henderson definitely felt winter in Florida at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions | Photo: Ben Harpring

Improve Your Putting During Winter

Most people could eliminate three to five shots per round if they just improved their putting. Let’s say you don’t live near a dome and want to practice at home. What can you do?

1. Practice Your Putting on Carpet

You can purchase a 6-foot piece of indoor/outdoor carpet at a local hardware store. Lay the carpet out on your living room floor, basement, garage or wherever there is room. Place a quarter on the rug as the cup. Having something smaller than a hole will help you become more accurate and the real cup will appear huge to you.

Start practicing from 2 feet away, using your backhand. If you are right-handed, you will putt one-handed with only your right hand. Stand a little open to the target so you can easily see the line between the ball and the hole. Practice making 10 to 100 2-foot putts per day one-handed. (Your goal is to hit the quarter on each putt.)

Once you’re able to make most of the 2-footers one-handed, add your other hand. Be sure you can see the line and can hit the quarter on each putt.

As you become comfortable and gain confidence, move back to 3 feet, 4 feet, 5 feet and, eventually, 6 feet. You will make more putts when the snow melts.

2. Straighten Your Putting with a Yardstick

While you are at the hardware store, purchase a metal yardstick. Place the metal yardstick on the floor. On one side of the yardstick, there should be an open hole. Place a golf ball on top of the open hole. Practice hitting 3-footers down the yardstick. Your mission is to see how many putts you can roll all the way down the yardstick without the ball falling off. You will learn how to see a straight putt, how to set your clubface square to the target, and how to roll the golf ball on a straight line for 3 feet.

If you tend to open the face, the ball will fall off the yardstick to the right. If you pull it, the ball will fall off the left side.

Sung Hyun Park rugged up at the 2018 KEB Hana Bank Championship | Photo - Ben Harpring
Sung Hyun Park rugged up at the KEB Hana Bank Championship | Photo – Ben Harpring

Practice Your Full Swing Indoors

Most of us would love to hit all shots clean, airborne and straight. If you have room in your home to make half-swings with a short iron, I suggest you do so. You can use the indoor/outdoor carpet you purchased to practice putting to hit shots.

1. Pour a little flour on the carpet about the size of a quarter. Take small swings practicing brushing the carpet on the downswing where the flour is. Learning to make clean contact with the flour as your target without a ball will help you when there is a ball there.

2. I understand you cannot hit real golf balls in your living room. You can, however, purchase some marshmallows. Yes, I said marshmallows. You can practice hitting clean shots in the living room off the indoor/outdoor carpet using marshmallows as golf balls. It might be a little crazy, but at least you won’t hurt anything.

Work on Improving Your Alignment

Many people are unsure how to aim correctly. If you frequently watch the LPGA Tour on television, you will see many caddies standing behind players to help them line up their shots. In 2019, this will not be allowed, and players will need to line up their shots on their own.

The ball goes where the face points, not your shoulders. Learn to aim the clubface at the target and align your body parallel to the left of the target for right-handed players. Your body will be parallel to the right if you are left-handed.

Take a short iron. Find a wall in your house that you could practice setting up along. Pretend you are hitting a ball down that target line. Practice walking up to the ball parallel to the wall. Set up to the shot. The wall will not allow you to aim to the right. You may need to learn how to see the true line you want the ball to travel. It may look way left to you if you are right-handed or way right to you if you are left-handed.