A Proper Warm-Up To Do Before Your Round
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A proper warm-up before a round of golf has several benefits. First, you have a better chance of starting well, as opposed to most players who may take 2-3 holes before they find their rhythm. Secondly, being prepared beforehand in feeling relaxed and ready to go will also increase your chances of playing well. That being said, there is more to warming up before a round than hitting a full bucket of balls and a few putts. Here are the guidelines to a comprehensive and a proper warm-up to do before your round.
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare
As a general rule, you should try to arrive at the golf course 60-90 minutes before your tee time, getting checked-in as soon as you can, so that you can focus entirely on your warm-up instead of having to interrupt it with standing in line in the golf shop before your starting time.
If you decide to eat at the golf course, give yourself even more time so you don’t have to worry about scarfing your food down and still have a proper warm-up. Nothing ruins a round more than an upset stomach.
2. Perform Some Simple Stretches Before You Hit Range Balls
The older we get, the easier it is for our bodies to have tightness in certain areas that can affect our golf swing. Unless we get our bodies limbered up before we get a feel for our golf swings.
In the video below, Mike Malaska demonstrates a great stretching routine that will get your entire body loose and ready to go in less than ten minutes. If you have another stretching routine that works for you, use it, but make sure you dedicate 5-10 minutes to slowly stretching out before you get started on the chipping green.
3. Get a Feel for Your Chipping Stroke (~10 minutes)
Grab a few balls and start with some basic short bump-and-runs, then work your way up to some longer chips and a few pitch shots. The overall results of your shots shouldn’t matter. You’re simply getting a feel for how the club feels in your hands, how the club is swinging, and how you initially judge the firmness and speed of the greens.
4. Spend ~15 Minutes Putting
Start with some short putts (2-3 feet) to get some confidence in hearing and seeing the ball drop into the hole. Move back to some 5-6 footers, trying some different breaks and getting a feel for the speed. Next, you’ll want to attempt some mid-range putts in the 12-20 foot range. Your focus should be on speed; save making putts on the golf course where it matters! Finally, hit a few lag putts, doing your best to two-putt them. Now you’re ready to hit the range.
5. About 40-50 Range Balls (~25 minutes)
If you feel like you’ve tightened up since you were on the putting green, take a couple of minutes to stretch out any tight areas before you start making swings. Start with your favorite wedge and take a few practice swings for a basic pitch shot. When you start hitting wedge shots, be as smooth as possible. You’re not concerned about where any of these shots go; you’re simply trying to loosen up for full swings.
After 5-7 pitch shots, move up to your 125-yard club, keeping your swing smooth. As you work through your practice balls, take note of anything you see and feel. For example, is the ball flying as far as it normally does? What does the flight pattern look like? Does the tempo feel erratic? These are observations that will serve you well as you start your round.
Remember That It’s Just a Warm-Up
One of the most detrimental things any golfer can do is to work on their golf swing during a pre-round warm-up. If you normally play a cut and the ball is hooking, plan for it on the golf course. There is no correlation between having a great range session and playing great on the golf course and vice versa. The range warm-up is exactly that: a warm-up.
Have a Plan
Work your way up to 150 yards, 200 yards, and a few 3-woods and drivers. Save 5-6 balls so you can play the first 2-3 holes on the driving range. Take your scorecard, and figure out how you’d play your first tee shot.
Once you have a plan, take whichever club you will use for your opening drive, tee it up, and go through your full routine, picking out targets in the distance as your fairway. Once you hit your “drive”, estimate how far you’ll have into the hole, and use another ball to simulate your approach, again going through your routine, picking a more refined target as your green.
Play at least one more hole on the range, and if you have any range balls left, use two to practice your opening tee shot. If you still have more left over, leave them for someone else.
The Final Word
Sixty minutes is more than enough time to go through a comprehensive warm-up routine. If you allow yourself ninety minutes, it should be no problem to add a few minutes into each category to include the extra half an hour. Utilize this warm-up routine and you’ll find yourself better prepared, relaxed, and ready to play some great golf. Fairways and greens to you!