In Minnesota it’s rare to enjoy 18-holes of golf outside on a Monday and then hit the ski slopes two days later. Yes, winter in Minnesota has treated its residents kindly, but VLGC golf instructor Chris Toftner was ready for the golf season to officially transition to its offseason so he can continue giving snowboarding lessons at Wild Mountain in Taylor Falls, MN when he’s not giving golf lessons at the course during the summer months. Snowboarding and skiing is an excellent physical activity for any golfer trying to gain strength in the legs and core area. Toftner sits down to explain the benefits of taking a break from the game of golf and how snowboarding and skiing can benefit any golfer looking to get better in the winter time.
Toftner has been giving golf lessons at VLGC for the past 11 years and has been the head snowboarding instructor at Wild Mountain for the past nine years. He’s a certified professional in teaching and coaching with the PGA of America and has attained his AASI level 2 and freestyle certification. After a successful golf season where CT saw record numbers, he expects the same for the skiing and snowboarding industry because of how low of interaction there is between two or more people. In December, Gov. Walz suspended youth & adult recreational sports until Jan. 4, but the ski resorts in Minnesota basically remained unaffected by the executive order, so like many others Chris and his family have spent a lot of their time one the slopes if they weren’t still golfing!
So how does snowboarding and skiing translate into making you and me a better golfer? We can start with how snowboarding and skiing helps with static and dynamic balance. Good static(standing still) balance is what golfers need to have when starting their golf swing. Good dynamic(in motion) balance is the golfers need to have while executing and following through with their swing. The better static balance one has, the better chance they have of maintaining a balance when swinging the club. Snowboarding requires a level of dynamic and static balance. Not just balancing while standing still, but maintaining balance in a changing environment by quickly adjusting to the different snow surfaces.
Another reason why snowboarding and skiing are good activities to do in the golf offseason is because of the development and maintenance of valuable core muscles. “Without a strong core, you are not able to transfer energy properly through the body,” Toftner said. “Your core is the main mover for golf swing along with the hips and feet. The core is where the rotation happens around the torso.” And the same goes for snowboarding and skiing. Having a strong core can prevent you from lower-back injuries—one of golf’s most popular injuries. A strong core is important when it comes to balancing on a board and improving stability.
Toftner believes the strongest advantage snowboarding and skiing has in developing golf skills during the offseason is the basic fact that it’s an outdoor activity during a time where most people are shacked up inside, making it the ultimate mental break from our regular lives. Spending time either on the golf course or on top of the ski hill naturally lowers anxiety levels. The social aspect of snowboarding also helps relieve stress. Together, these benefits result in better mental health.
During the winter, you may be tempted to hide out indoors, away from the cold weather. As it turns out, however, this could be the ideal time of the year for you to get in shape. Snowboarding and skiing are fun activities that can keep you fit and healthy all winter long. If you haven’t tried it already, consider heading to your local ski hill and strapping on a board. Not only is it an excellent way to overcome the winter doldrums but it also can do wonders.