How to stay sharp when you don’t have time to play, according to low handicaps

Rolling some putts on your living room floor isn't enough.

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When the holiday season comes, sneaking out to the course isn’t always easy, but there are certain things you can do to make sure you stay sharp. Enter GOLF’s resident low-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.

1. Hit the gym

Dylan Dethier (+3.3 handicap): Get off the couch! Not all day — I’m writing this from a couch — but the biggest threat to your game in the offseason is your own physical well-being. If you can maintain strength and gain flexibility in the offseason, it’ll be much easier to get back on the course. Beginner yoga is amazing. Going for walks is amazing. Keep moving around!

2. Get some perspective

Luke Kerr-Dineen (2.5 handicap): Whether it’s the offseason or just a particular stretch keeping you off the golf course, my advice is not technical, but mental: Use the time away from the course to step away and get some perspective. What parts of your game are you pleased with? What parts of your game do you want to improve? What is your most common miss? And can a swing change help with that? When you’re done reflecting, set yourself a few simple goals — both for your game and your swing — and start working towards them.

3. Focus on flexibility

Josh Sens (2.5 handicap): Move to a warm-weather state, where there is no offseason. But if you can’t do that, focus on flexibility. Unlike so many aspects of golf, if you work at this, you are guaranteed to make progress.

4. Practice putting at home

Zephyr Melton (6.5 handicap): No matter what you do, there will be some rust in your game when you emerge from the winter, but there are ways to mitigate the effects. You can always do some putting drills in your home, and stretching those golf muscles will keep you limber as well. Just make sure you don’t completely abandon the game over the winter and you’ll have an easier time getting back into the swing of things (no pun intended).

Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.