Lee Bacchus Looks At Golf

Your Indoor Winter Golf Course

As golf slouches into hibernation for most of us, it may be time to consider how to make the most of the off-season.

Even though I reside in the soggy Pacific Northwest (where it basically secretes one kind of moisture or another from October through April), my golf season never ends. I simply move it indoors.

My wife doesn't think too much about this annual "transition," which may be due to the time I struck our bedroom chandelier while practicing my swing in the bedroom, subsequently sending shards of glass throughout the room and into our bed.

A small price to pay for a few more inches of shoulder turn, I say. Of course, we all commandeer the carpet for a little winter tune-up with the putter. But does any carpet truly replicate real conditions? There are no breaks, no divots and no grain. So if you want to add some realism to your flatstick drills, then follow these simple "alterations."

To create the illusion of tiers and breaks, simply throw the dog's favorite bone or the cat's favorite toy under the rug and watch Rex or Fluffy magically produce a series of swails and hollows just like at Augusta. Remember, though, for your pet's health and safety, please wear soft spikes only.

Chipping is another fundamental easily adapted to the interior of your home. Now many of you may already practice your short game indoors with the help of plastic balls and a bucket; But I say, that's like showering with a raincoat. If you really want to replicate the stress and competition of real game conditions then you must use real balls and you must impale a flagstick in the middle of the family room or the master bedroom - whichever allows the widest backswing.

Of course, household chipping is a win-win situation, since after a few hours of practice you then have "manufactured" the simulated divots you needed for your synthetic "putting green."

Now, just like at the course, not every ball is going to come to rest near the flag. Some will be chili-dipped under the furniture, while others may be thinned through a plate-glass window out into the neighbor's yard. But don't worry about it. No pane, no gain, I always say.

Sure, I hear many of you saying, "All this short game stuff is fine, but, Lee, what about the full swing?"

No problemo. Do you have a bedsheet? Do you have a driver? Do you have a wife who's gone to her mother's for the weekend? Bingo! You have your own indoor driving range!

Simply rig the bedsheet (i.e. your backstop) so it hangs from a hallway door and start smacking those vritual "300-yarders."

And no, I have not neglected bunker practice. Of course, carting in a wheelbarrow full of sand from the local playground may ruffle a few feathers, so just do what I do. Go to Costco, buy a few hundred pounds of the bulk Rice Crispies, and then dump them in the den. It's not sand, but it does have that magical snap, crackle and pop.

Hey, who says you can't have your golf game and eat it too?

Lee’s Top Three Golf Topics

1. MONEY MANIA - Disney winner Jose Coceres is the 52nd member of the PGA Tour to reach the million-dollar earnings mark this year. I've told my son he should practice more, but he keeps spitting his soother back in my face.

2. Q-SCHOOL - The grind is on for Tour hopefuls. The only thing more stressful than trying to qualify is trying to deliver mail in Washington D.C.

3. BLOWN AWAY - Arkansas native Sean Fister becomes the new long-drive champ. He's the second person from Little Rock to become famous for using his big stick.

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