Over the last two years I've invested a good bit of time really working on my swing and seeing a lot of improvement with my game. I'm obsessed with the game of golf and want to continue to improve. My wife is due with our third (and final) child and the due date is rapidly approaching. My family is my world and I love being a dad. I know for the first 4 to 6 months I will not have many chances to get to a driving range or to play a round as I'll be helping with the baby and my son and daughter. Others who have gone through this, what did you do to keep your skills up with less opportunity to get away and play? One exciting development is that my daughter (who is turning 6 this year) appears to have been bitten by the golf bug as well as she loves our daddy-daughter dates to hit balls at the range.
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First of all, congrats! Golf obviously needs to take a back seat for a while, but it can be hard to correctly prioritize this game at times. It's potentially all consuming. I'm sure you'll find the right family balance after a few weeks of adjustment. I did chuckle at your "4 to 6 months" comment, however. Those of us in the northern part of the US go through that every year: it's called winter.
First and foremost, whenever you get a chance to play or practice, set reasonable expections for yourself and your game. You're not going to strike it as consistently as you would when you're playing a lot. You're going to have stretches when you hit it great and stretches when you hit it awful. Don't be frustrated by this. If anything, embrace and enjoy the good shots a little more than you normally would.
As far as working on your game, putting at home is one of the things I do to keep me sane during the winter. You don't need a fancy setup. One of those cheap 8 foot putting mats will do the trick. It's a great way to work on your setup, alignment, and stroke when you have a few minutes to spare. If you want to keep the swing in shape, consider getting the Superspeed Golf system and go through their protocols of overspeed training. You might come out the other end having picked up a few mph and it will be a net win.
The reality is that you're going to need as much of a break at times as your wife. Make sure you take the time to practice or play occassionally.
I am about to have the same issue. Our 2nd baby is due in June. Fortunately my 3 year old likes to go out to the golf course too so I'm hoping this gets me out there more.
Skytrak has a pretty cool system you could put in your garage and doesn't cost the typical $10K. We are leaning towards getting a system before out baby gets here.
I love the idea of a cheap putting mat and chipping in your backyard too. The more I chip in my backyard the lower my scores get.
Thank you both for the advice.. I actually had caught a deal on a used skytrak and I'm going to try to set up a virtual driving range in my garage. This being my third child I do know that I'll still be lucky to get to hit once every week or two but I'll focus on the strike and swing mechanics that I've been working on. I do have a putting mat and my 5 year old enjoys competing with me in putting contests before bed so hopefully I can keep that up! I'm extremely excited about the new baby and hopefully I can preserve some of the swing that I've put all this work into! I appreciate all the kind words and advice!
My son is 8 months so I'm in a perfect position to answer this. I'm a bit lucky though because my wife grew up with a golf-obsessed dad and a brother who played on web.com, so she's used to "the guys playing golf".
Your best bet is just to be honest with what you said to everyone here: you love your family most but love golf as well. Tell the old lady the same thing and ask if you can get balls for an hour a week and/or play every other week.
As for keeping skills sharp, definitely agree with @jll62 about putting. I got one of these metal yard sticks to make sure my roll matched my line from 3 feet. Aside from that though, I like to keep my practice as much as a "game" as possible or I fall into the trap of playing "golf swing" instead of the game of golf pretty easily.
Good luck and its not as bad as everyone says.