Blog

What You Need To Do This Off-Season To See Results Next Golf Season

In the off-season, set clear, achievable goals, prioritize fitness, perfect your swing with an instructor, and keep playing through winter. Prepare to tee off the next season with newfound confidence.

Golf is a sport that requires dedication and practice to see improvement. If you want to take your golf game to the next level, it’s essential to use the off-season wisely. While it may be tempting to take a break from the links during the winter months, this is actually the perfect time to work on your game. In this blog post, we will discuss what you need to do this off-season to see significant results for next golf season.

1. Set Clear Goals

Before you start any off-season golf performance training, it’s important to set clear, measurable, and achievable goals. What aspects of your golf game do you want to improve? Is it your driving distance, improving your turn and flexibility, accuracy with irons, or your short game? Setting specific goals will give your training purpose and direction.

2. Work on Your Fitness

Golf is more physically demanding than it may appear. A good fitness regimen can significantly improve your golf game. Focus on flexibility, strength, and speed. Golf-specific mobility training and resistance training can help with flexibility and strength, allowing you to maintain focus and consistency throughout the round. If improving distance is your goal for next season, starting a supervised golf-training program is crucial and necessary. Investing in your health is not something you will regret.

3. Improve Your Swing

The off-season is the ideal time to work on your swing. Consider pairing your golf-specific training program with a golf instructor to fine-tune your technique. They can identify flaws in your swing and provide personalized guidance to correct them. Practicing with a launch monitor or indoor simulator can also help you understand your swing better. Combining golf-lessons with a golf-specific training program focused on the physical side is an off-season recipe for success.

4. Play Winter Golf

Don’t take the Winter off from playing golf. You cannot expect to improve your golf game if you don’t swing a club for 3 months. While taking a week or two off is fine, you’ll want to continue fine-tuning your swing so that you aren’t playing catch-up when next Spring arrives.

Conclusion

The off-season is a great opportunity to work on your golf performance training and game to make substantial improvements for next season. By setting clear goals, focusing on your fitness, and fine-tuning your swing, you’ll be well-prepared to tee off next golf season with confidence.

Set up a time for a complimentary phone session, or start with a free home assessment to get personalized exercises put together by Dr. Roberts in the regions you could improve.

Dr. Cole Bunce is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Bunce works at RobertsPT, a golf Physical Therapy and Performance Center in Kansas City.

Tips from the Tour: Indoor Wedge Practice

Wintertime in Kansas. For most, that means football, sitting by the fireplace, ice skating at Crown Center, or any other indoor activity. Yes, the days have gotten short, and the grass has gone dormant…the opposite of what any avid golfer wants to hear. This doesn’t mean we have to stop playing the game we love! Our environment can cause our golf game to be “rusty” when we come back to playing in the spring. The excitement of the first round in spring weather shouldn’t be hindered by the frustration of performance. I’m here to help you overcome that by giving you options and opportunities to practice even on the worst days! In this edition, we are going to improve our wedge play.

When it comes to wedges, the key to success is precision. On Sunday, when you’re watching the PGA TOUR, pay attention to how well the pros hit their wedges. They routinely make birdie or save par, because of their wedge play. They have practiced this to where they know exactly how far they can hit each one. We can take an aspect of that practice to our own games to help us improve our performance too.

Three ways to practice wedges in the winter:

Indoor Simulator

  1. Pay attention to carry distance. You can control this via club speed (how fast you swing) and by swing length (how big of a swing you make). Carry distance and club speed are measured on most simulators.
  2. Find a swing length and speed that you can replicate with ease (ex. shoulder-high back swing to shoulder-high follow-through). The best part of using a simulator is that it allows you to quantify each shot.

Indoor Net without a Simulator

  1. Focus on contact. We want to hit the ball in the middle of the face to create the most consistent shot we can. Without quantifying with a simulator, one of the best things we can do is focus on being able to make consistent contact.
  2. Create a feel for how big of a swing you are using. Sometimes it works to think that the club works on a clock (for example, a right-handed golfer might have the club go to the 10 o’clock position on the backswing and finish at the 2 o’clock position for the follow-through). Other people can relate to the places on their bodies. The 10 o’clock backswing example would equate to a shoulder-high left arm at the top of the backswing for a right-handed golfer. Either method is great; play around to find out what works best for you! Taking video can be an excellent way to see how big of a swing you are making. Set up the camera for a face-on view.

At Home: Using a Mirror

  1. Focus on setup position in a mirror. We want a consistent setup with ball position- further back in our stance creates lower ball flight, and further up creates higher ball flight. We want to create a consistent ball position for success. I would suggest playing the ball slightly back in the middle of your stance. Work on setting up to the ball consistently each time in the mirror. If your ceilings are tall enough, you can practice making different backswing lengths and seeing them in the mirror. This can help develop a feel for what size of swing you are making, and then when you get the opportunity to hit balls, use that feel and see how far the ball goes with each one.
  2. Visualize with your mind. It is incredible how powerful visualization is. Every pro visualizes their shot clearly before they hit. Think about the best shot you have ever hit with a wedge; think about how great the contact felt, the flight of the ball in the air, the green grass, and how the ball landed and rolled right next to the hole or went in! Spending five to ten minutes a day just visualizing hitting great wedges (or any golf shot) is going to help you become a better golfer. You will be amazed at how ready your body and mind are for performance after doing this.

I hope these options help you to get through the toughest part of the year for golfers. There is no reason to let the winter in the Midwest hold us back from accomplishing our golf goals in 2024 or keep us from enjoying the game we love! I’m excited to share more tips from the TOUR to help you with your game this year. As always, please reach out to your PGA Professional for lessons to help your game with this. They are prepared and equipped to help you become the best player you can be. Have fun and good luck!

See you on TOUR,

Joseph Winslow is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. He is native to Kansas City and is a professional golfer. He has played around the world on the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR China, and PGA TOUR Americas. He was an NCAA Honorable Mention All American at the University of Iowa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Joseph brings insight and advice from a competitive playing perspective to help you in your practice. Follow along with Joseph’s career as he continues to work to win around the world.

STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE

The Competitive Advantage of Off-Season Training for Golfers

Off-season training for golfers provides a unique opportunity to address weaknesses and gain a competitive edge. Prioritizing physical fitness, including strength, flexibility, and balance, can lead to increased clubhead speed, improved distance off the tee, injury prevention, and enhanced consistency in your swing. Discover how off-season training can transform your golf game.

One of the primary benefits of off-season training is the ability to address weaknesses. Golfers can identify specific aspects of their game that need improvement and target them during the off-season. A key area of focus to gain a competitive advantage in the off-season is to prioritize physical fitness. Golf demands a combination of strength, power, flexibility, and balance. These attributes can be cultivated during the off-season. A stronger, more powerful body translates to increased clubhead speed and improved distance off the tee, while better flexibility aids in maintaining a consistent swing throughout the round and reducing injury risk.

Off-season training offers an invaluable opportunity for golfers to elevate their physical condition. Strength and power are the foundation upon which a golfer’s game is built. Building muscle and increasing speed can substantially increase distance off the tee, leading to lower scores on the course – and, of course, bragging rights.

Flexibility, another key component of physical fitness, is the unsung hero of injury prevention and longevity in golf. The ability to move specific joints and muscles through a full range of motion allows golfers to execute swings without undue stress on their bodies. When flexibility is lacking, the risk of strains, sprains, and other injuries skyrockets. A mobile body, on the other hand, ensures that golfers can maintain proper form and absorb the forces of their swing, reducing the likelihood of injury. So, for golfers looking to stay on the course and out of the doctor’s office, flexibility isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Moreover, a limber body enables a golfer to execute the full range of motion required for a consistent and controlled swing. By improving flexibility through targeted exercises during the off-season, golfers can gain a competitive edge on the course. 

Additionally, balance and stability are vital for a golfer’s success. A steady stance and controlled body movements are essential for accurate shots and maintaining consistency. Off-season training programs that incorporate balance and stability exercises can significantly enhance a golfer’s ability to maintain a poised posture during swings.

Incorporating these physical aspects into off-season training can be a game-changer. There’s no better time to gain a competitive advantage than the off-season. By dedicating time to building strength, power, flexibility, and balance, golfers can take their game to new heights and stay ahead of the curve in the competitive world of golf.

Dr. Cole Bunce is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Bunce works at RobertsPT, a golf Physical Therapy and Performance Center in Kansas City.

2023 Volunteers of the Year

Our volunteers are the heart of Central Links Golf. This year’s recipients of Volunteer of the Year are extremely deserving of the honor. 

Rules Official of the Year: Scott Brooks

Scott has been a volunteer with KGA/CLG for over 30 years. In 2023, he volunteered at 25 tournament days and worked the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills. 

Course Rater of the Year: Tim Lenz

Tim has been a Course Rater for four years. In 2023, he traveled across the state multiple times to assist with training new raters and rate golf courses as one of our team leaders. He has consistently provided feedback and sought educational opportunities to grow his rating knowledge.

2023 Players of the Year Announced

Congratulations to our 2023 Players of the Year!

Junior Players of the Year

Rusty Hilst Boys Player of the Year: Tyler Strong

T15 finish at the Optimist Qualifier, 10th place finish at the Railer Stroke Play Championship, 6th place at the Junior Boys Four-Ball Championship, Low Junior at the KC Amateur, Member of the Mid-America Cup Team, Qualified for Match Play at the Kansas Amateur, T3 at the KC Junior Amateur, and won the Kansas Junior Amateur.

Girls Player of the Year: Emerie Schartz

Kansas Women’s Amateur Champion, Kansas Junior Amateur Champion, Qualified for the US Girls Junior Amateur and Junior PGA National Championship.

Women’s Players of the Year

Women’s Player of the Year: Hanna Robinett

Prairie Invitational Champion, Kansas Women’s Amateur Runner Up, 16th place at the CLG Women’s Match Play.

Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Katy Winters

3rd place at the Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur, 4th place at the Kansas Women’s Amateur, 3rd place at the Tee Fore Two, 17th place at the Prairie Invitational.

Women’s Senior & Super Senior Player of the Year: Denise Desilet

T2 at the Kansas Women’s Senior Amateur, Runner Up at the Tee Fore Two, Won Women’s Team Links Series at Auburn Hills, Won Fall Triple Threat.

Women’s Legends Player of the Year: Naoma Kilpatrick

Kansas Women’s Super Senior Amateur Champion, T2 at the Prairie Invitational Opal Hill Division.

Kansas Players of the Year

Kansas Men’s Player of the Year: Zach VanDolah

T12 at the Kansas Mid-Amateur, Runner Up at the Heart of America Four-Ball, Qualified for the US Mid-Amateur, Match Play Qualifier at the US Mid-Amateur Championship, Kansas City Amateur Champion, Quarterfinals at the Kansas Amateur.

Kansas Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Nathaniel Spencer

T6 at the Kansas Mid-Amateur, Quarterfinals at the KC Match Play, Runner Up at the Railer (Mid-Am), T1 High Plains Amateur (Mid-Am), Round of 16 at the Kansas Amateur.

Kansas Senior & Super Senior Player of the Year: RJ Opliger

3rd place at the Kansas Mid-Amateur (Senior Division), 3rd place at the Kansas Senior Amateur (Super Senior), Runner Up at the KC Senior Match Play, Quarterfinals at the KC Match Play.

Kansas Legends Player of the Year: Joe Rothwell

Runner Up the Legends of Kansas Championship, 4th at the KC Amateur (Super Senior Divison), Senior Series Championship winner, Winning Team at the Association Senior Cup.

Kansas City Players of the Year

Kansas City Men’s & Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Zach VanDolah

Runner Up at the Heart of America Four-Ball, Quarterfinals at the Kansas Amateur, Semifinals at the Missouri Amateur Match Play, KC Amateur Champion.

Kansas City Senior Player of the Year: Ed Brown

KC Senior Match Play Champion, KC Amateur Champion (Senior Division), Falcon Wealth Advisors Tour.

Kansas City Super Senior Player of the Year: RJ Opliger

Runner Up at the KC Senior Match Play, Quarterfinals at the KC Match Play, Runner Up at the KC Amateur (Super Senior).

Kansas City Legends Player of the Year: Don Kuehn

4th place at the KC Amateur (Super Senior/Legends), Falcon Wealth Advisors Tour Legends Division.


All points lists can be found here >>

Future Kansas Amateur Champions Will Receive Exemptions into USGA Championships

Big changes are coming to USGA Qualifying. Starting in 2024, the winners of the following Central Links Golf events will earn spots in USGA Championships:

  • Kansas Amateur winner will earn a spot in the US Amateur
  • Kansas Women’s Amateur winner will earn a spot in the US Women’s Amateur
  • Kansas Junior Amateur Boys winner will earn a spot in the US Junior Amateur
  • Kansas Junior Amateur Girls’ winner will earn a spot in the US Girls’ Junior Amateur

These CLG Amateur Championships are limited to residents in Kansas or Kansas City and students at Kansas and Kansas City Area schools.

“I’m grateful for the USGA’s decision to recognize our state champions with these exemptions,” says CLG Executive Director, Doug Habel. “It speaks to the strength of golf in Kansas that all four of our championships qualified to send our winners to the national championships. Hopefully, we’ll continue to get the best players in the state to participate and our championships will remain strong.”

In addition, US Amateur qualifying is changing to a two-step qualifier, similar to the current qualifying format for the US Open. CLG will host US Amateur local qualifying in even years and US Amateur sectional qualifying in odd years. Kansas Amateur semifinalists will be exempt from US Amateur local qualifying. All other previously hosted USGA qualifiers will remain on CLG tournament schedules.

For questions regarding these changes, please contact doug@clgolf.org.

Zach VanDolah Wins Kansas City Amateur

The Kansas City Amateur Presented by Granite Garage Floors Kansas City was held at Creekmoor Golf Course on July 28-30.

The Open Division

Three players found themselves under par at the Kansas City Amateur last weekend. Zach VanDolah won the Open Division shooting rounds of 72-72-70 (-3), Kit Grove finished in second place shooting 71-73-70 (-2), and Tyler McNeive shot 73-66-76 (-1) to earn Low Junior.

The Senior Division

In the Senior Division, Ed Brown won shooting 79-69-74 (+6), and Jon Platz tied for second with Steve Groom at seven-over-par.

The Super Senior Division

John Bailey won the Super Senior Division shooting even par 72-72-72 for his three rounds.

The Legends Division

Don Kuehn won the Legends Division shooting 73-72-74 (+3).

The Players Division

Song Kim won the Players Division shooting 86-78-70 (+18). Chris O’Dowd won overall Net in the division.

Full Results >>

Robinett Clinches Prairie Invitational Title

The Prairie Invitational celebrated its 10th anniversary during the Championship on July 24-26 at Kansas City Country Club. The Invitational includes an Open Division that is 54 holes with a cut to the top 18 and ties after two rounds and an Opal Hill Division that includes two rounds and a handicap index between 5.1-15.0.

Open Division

The Open Division was led the first two rounds by 2022 Prairie Invitational Champion, Julia Misemer. Misemer had a one-shot lead over Hanna Robinett going into the final round. After a couple of hiccups from Misemer on holes 15 and 16, the door opened for Robinett. She birdied the 17th hole to have a one-shot lead over Misemer going into the 18th hole. On 18, Robinett hit her second shot to 30+ feet and Misemer had a good look at making birdie. With a crowd forming, Robinett made her putt and won the tournament.

“From an awkward lie in the fairway I had left myself a longer putt than I had anticipated, but it was one of those moments you can see the line so clearly. Every break the putt is going to make you can just feel it, like the ball has to go into the hole. I hit the putt and it’s tracking, looking better and better and it hits the flagstick and drops in. In that moment I threw my hands in the air and hugged my dad with tears in my eyes because it was a moment I had worked so hard for,” Robinett said.

Martha Linscott won Low Senior on Tuesday shooting 83-80 (+21). Maya McVey won Low Junior Shooting 74-73-74 (+8).

Opal Hill Division

After a rain delay on day one of the tournament, the Opal Hill Division was cut to just one round on Tuesday, July 25. Leading the Division was Kate Braden who fired a 77, winning by one shot. Terri Albers won Low Net shooting 78 (69).

Thank you to our tournament sponsors for supporting Women’s Golf in Kansas City.

For full tournament results click here >>

Sokolosky Wins 113th Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship

The Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship took place July 18-23rd at Falcon Lakes Golf Club. The Championship began with a 36-hole stroke play qualifying round to make it into the round of 64 matches.

Zach Sokolosky found himself at the top of the leaderboard after round two, shooting an impressive 14 under par, 68-62, earning him the number one seed going into match play. “I was able to get my putter very hot which was a big confidence booster going into match play,” Sokolosky said.

In the round of 64 matches, Sokolosky defeated James Hill 3&2. In his second match, he won one up after 19 holes against Colby Unruh. During the round of 16 matches, Sokolosky defeated 2022 Kansas Amateur Champion, Asher Whitaker, 4&3. In the Quarterfinals he won 2&1 over Drew Carlson. In the Semifinals he defeated Chance Rinkol 1 up after 18 holes.

Sokolosky played against Michael Winslow, the 11 seed during the final match. Both Sokolosky and Winslow play on the Wichita State Men’s Golf Team. Winslow shot 72-66 (-6) during the qualifying rounds earlier in the week. The 36-hole final match was back and forth between Sokolosky and Winslow. After the first 18 holes, Sokolosky was 1 up. Winslow fought to tie the match throughout the second 18, however, Sokolosky birdied the 16th hole to push the match to 1 up. After ties on 17 and 18, Sokolosky won 1 up.

“This win means the world to me because I thought I had a chance to win the last two, maybe more. It was a long time coming and I was feeling very good with my game. I’m extremely happy to get it done this week,” Sokolosky said.

Facts:

  1. Zach Sokolosky’s 36-hole stroke play total of 130 tied the Kansas Amateur record by Jesse Schulte at the 2002 Kansas Amateur at Tallgrass.
  2. Zach Sokolosky’s second-round stroke play score of 62 broke the Kansas Amateur record for lowest stroke play round that was previously held by Jesse Schulte’s 64 during the first round of the 2002 Kansas Amateur.
  3. That 62 by Sokolosky also tied the Falcon Lakes course record that was shot by Clay Devers about 10 years ago.
  4. This isn’t a record, but just an observation.  Zach is the first stroke play medalist since Sam Stevens in 2015 to go on to win the tournament after being medalist.