How to Determine Golf Swing Path by Swinging in the Snow

By William McCoy

Swinging a golf club outside in the winter might not seem sensible or productive to some golfers, but for others it's viable way to give your swing path a checkup. Seeing what your swing path looks like in the snow is one way to learn what you may be doing wrong. A mild winter day with a light dusting of snow is perfect for this drill. If the snow is packed too hard, put your practice off for another day. Otherwise, you risk damaging the club or hurting yourself.

Shovel out an area in which you can stand comfortably and still swing your golf club. The snow should be roughly 1 inch deep in the area over which your club will pass.

Select a club you don't mind getting wet, such as an old iron, driver or fairway wood.

Stretch your legs, back, shoulders and arms briefly to make sure you are loose enough to swing the golf club. Swinging while your body is cold is a good way to strain a muscle. If you have just worked up a sweat shoveling, you may not need to stretch.

Assume your normal golf stance and place the head of the club in the light snow. Plant your feet in a stance that is correct for the club you are using. For example, a wide stance for a driver, a narrower stance for a wedge. The key to this exercise is trying to maintain your normal stance and swing.

Swing the club as you normally would, making sure the clubhead passes through the loose snow. If you want, move your feet slightly and take additional swings through the loose snow.

Note the paths your swings take through the snow. If the paths you leave in the snow are parallel to your feet and directly in line with your body, chances are you would have hit the ball squarely and straight on an actual golf course. If the paths mostly cut diagonally toward you, it's an indication you probably are pulling your hands in during your swing, which typically results in a slice. If the snow paths cut diagonally away from you, you likely would have hit a draw with the swings you took.

Repeat this exercise over several days to note the consistencies in your swing. If your swing indicates you are prone to slicing the ball, for example, consider adjusting your stance or swing --if you know what you are doing. If not, consider taking a winter lesson or two from a PGA teaching professional in your area. In the winter, many teachers give lessons in golf domes.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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