Golf training off course
9 November 2023
Five ways to use BAL.ON off the course during winter
As fledglings of the Northern hemisphere, BAL.ON and the BAL.ON crew are often on cold turkey during the winter months. Gusts of wind and rain plague our rounds – and from November onwards, when the greenkeepers work to rejuvenate the grounds, courses are often shut down altogether. A grueling prospect. But there are workarounds to stay in touch with the game and even have a little additional fun. We present five of them.
I want to get away, to fly, fly away – golf travel
The knee-jerk reaction for us Northerners in the darker months of the year is to simply pack up shop and get away. It’s not necessarily long-range travel, as the Andalucian region of Spain offers countless courses and resorts to while away the harshest winter days. As even a cursory search on the web reveals, golf travel has become the professional outlet of many specialized travel agencies and alluring destinations the world over.
An obvious counter to the intrusion of winter weather: escaping to some sunnier place.
Yet it might also be that your coach offers special trips during the winter season to enjoy more sun and at the same time develop your game further. It’s always worth asking, as these trips usually foster ties between coaches and clients and really expand your golfing abilities.
Whatever trip variant you choose, BAL.ON is one of the best travel companions imaginable for golfers: easy to pack, lightweight and sturdy, it goes wherever you go, gives you valuable feedback on your game, and otherwise stays quiet and unassuming – a benefit that can’t be had with all types of travel company.
The driving range – BAL.ON’s natural habitat
Even when the course is totally off limits, the ranges usually stay open for winter training. Granted, it takes a bit of resolve to go there in the wind and the cold – but let’s admit one thing: even if everything inside of you screams against going to the range, you are always grateful after having gone there, right?
The driving range is almost the ideal playground to train with BAL.ON. You’re out in the open, there are no restrictions on your moves, and you can really zoom in on details of your swing technique. If you catch an early hour, you have no trouble putting up a tripod with your mobile to film yourself in the face on perspective, which is 90 degrees from your swing plane and thus needs a little space. However, even if there is no room for that, BAL.ON’s image recognition handles the down the line perspective (in line with your swing plane) equally well.
The driving range is what BAL.ON was made for: the ideal playground to get better at nearly all aspects of the golf swing.
Making use of the automatic swing detection feature of the app allows you to fully focus on your swings. Once you have set your tripod up, there is no need to further fidget about with your mobile’s camera – just wait for the gentle vibration signal through the BAL.ON Smart Pods to prompt your motion, and BAL.ON captures your swings automatically.
Of course, it is completely up to you, what aspect of the golf swing you want to focus on. Most of the athletes we are working with found the following training pattern useful: first do a series of say 10 swings. Then let BAL.ON compile the rating and start ironing out whatever weak spot BAL.ON has spotted. Do so in loops of single swing repetitions and immediate feedback afterwards. This way, you can find out how each change in technique reflects on your metric rating, which is insightful, fun and lets you forget the cold easily.
Parting the golfing masses: indoor golf
Some love it, others hate it, there is rarely impartiality on indoor golfing. After all, there is no indoor rugby nor indoor yachting, is there? Putting indoor confinements on any activity that was originally meant to be practiced outdoors needs at least a very good excuse, if not a tangible benefit. So, other than independence from the weather, an obvious bonus in the winter season, what else is to be gained? A lot, some would argue. First off, any action to bring the ball onto the green can be trained indoors: handling the driver, wielding short irons, chipping, and putting. And for each of these golf disciplines, BAL.ON and its pressure data offer insights and opens up ways for improvement.
Critics might note that the days when indoor golfing venues were a sad mixture of a squash court’s sweaty funk, badly animated video screens, flickering neon, and terrible acoustics are over. A new genre is gaining traction, the golf lounge. Often fitted out with bars, restaurants, even pool tables and cinemas, golf lounges offer a unique cross-over of amusement and the analysis worthy of a high-end studio. Premium venues such as The Pitch, London, or our good BAL.ON friend RUFF boast TrackMan 4 simulator technology, superb sound systems, and a host of analytic tools that provoke that kid-in-a-candy-shop sparkle even among the tech-savvy developers at BAL.ON.
Some ambitious indoor venues also provide so-called gap analysis sessions with pros and experts where you can talk shop on swings, angles, factors, and speeds. In case they are a little familiar with pressure-based training, you might also show them your BAL.ON values and gain further feedback from their assistance. For all the food and amusement, indoor golfing is a formidably controllable environment to work on specific parts of golfing technique.
Golf is where the heart is: home golfing
Except for the lucky folks whose home look like Gareth Bale’s backyard, home golfing is just too far a cry from the real thing to be considered at all. And no doubt, most of us can only train parts of the game at home. That can feel strange, if you are used to the entirety, the wholeness of a good round. Yet, what would be the alternative? Six or eight weeks with no contact to real golf at all? Getting rusty in nearly all technical aspects, especially the basic ones?
To make home golfing a little more savoury, try combining BAL.ON and softballs. Special soft training balls cannot cover great distance but don’t hurt or smash anything either. They are great in your garage or backyard and enable serious technique training, predominantly in chipping.
Or be even more radical and leave the ball out of your training completely. Following top coach David Leadbetter’s advice, beginners ought not strike the ball for the first three months. Instead, they are to focus the golf swing or, even better yet, parts of the swing sequence, in isolation. You read correctly, that’s 90 days of hitting air.
It feels odd, like the golf equivalent to shadowboxing, and it certainly looks odd (which beckons even more for doing it at home). The training benefit is immense, though, usually allowing a kick-start of the following season.
At BAL.ON, some pros even argue isolation drills shorn of the ball benefit players of all grades, including tour players. To spice the drills up a bit, do the movement training with BAL.ON’s live heatmap. Check your balance, refine your shifting, and perfect your timing – these are all are great ways to keep in shape and stay in touch with golf during winter.
Practice without the ball looks odd, takes resolve to stay at, and pays off hugely for your playing progress. This scene is set on the course, but it also works well at home.
For BAL.ONistas only? Golf in the office
It’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek idea, but in those times where the office quite naturally invades your home, you could be forgiven for viewing golf invading your office as the natural revenge. Seriously, there are quite a few BAL.ONistas claiming that nothing helps them wind down better from a challenging presentation or a lengthy teams call than a short round of putting. Be warned though, if you use real balls: in the heat of our latest in-office putting bout, we have dented several skirting boards, injured two flowerpots and even smashed a totally innocent lunch box!
A BAL.ONista taking office golf to new heights.