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Women's Mailbag

What's the best way to practice in the off-season? How do I figure out a course's dress code? Your questions, answered

February 10, 2022

Thomas Barwick

Happy to have you here reading this week's women's mailbag, where we answer questions from our female readership about all things golf. If you have a question you'd like answered, you can submit it here. This is technically female-focused, but guys, if you have a question, we’re not going to ignore you.

We've got some questions this week about improving your game at home during the winter, and about dress code. Let's get into it.

I live in the Northeast and don’t have access to a simulator or anything like that. What’s something I can do in my house to put me in a good position to play well when the snow finally melts? -- Charlotte, Maine

I grew up playing golf in Vermont, so I feel your pain! I reached out to Molly Braid, who's a teaching pro at Westmoor C.C. in Wisconsin and one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers, to get some helpful tips. She said the off-season is the perfect time to focus on the things you don’t want to be working on in the middle of the season. And is there anything worse than trying to make a grip change mid-summer? Unlikely. Below Braid shares some tips on how you can work on your grip in your house in the middle of winter rather than when the season starts up:

“The under-appreciated aspect of the grip is the placement in the top hand, in terms of your hand’s ability to stabilize the club and provide mobility to your wrist which controls distance and direction," Braid said.

Grab an iron, and take your normal stance and grip. Keeping your grip the same, stand up.

"Pay particular attention to the top hand by removing your bottom hand," Braid said. "When you do this, is the weight of the club supported? Does the club head drop down suddenly or the handle slip in your palm? These are signs that the club isn’t supported by the heel pad of the top hand’s palm enough."

To fix that, make sure the grip is under the heel pad and then close your hand around it, Braid says.

"This allows for full mobility in your wrist, which leads to proper mechanics in the rest of your swing. Many of my players feel a 'stronger shot' and see more distance instantly with this change," Braid said.

Another way to get this feeling is by picking up your golf bag by its handle.

"Notice how the weight of the bag is in the base of your fingers," Braid said. If you close your hand around it, your heel pad would be on top of the handle. This is a good way to feel how your hand works when it needs to be in a strong position, much like how it does to hit a golf shot.

Do these drills daily, and you'll be happy to have a solid grip when the snow melts.

I’m playing a new course. How do I find out what the dress code is? -- Megan, California

Playing at a new course is exciting, but there can be a little bit of stress about what to wear, no matter how experienced a golfer you are. If you’re unsure about what’s allowed, check the course’s website. Sometimes, your answers will be mapped out clearly there. If not, just call the pro shop—I do this whenever I’m unsure. Just say you’ll be playing the course for the first time and wanted to know what the dress code is. I’ve never been unhappy that I’ve done it – it’s always better to show up confident and enjoy the day, instead of being distracted by something like skirt length.