Set Yourself Up for Success
Warming up for golf is one of those things that doesn’t get talked about enough because most people assume they already know how to do it. That’s why you see such a range of behaviors on the practice tee. There’s the guy who gets out of his car and starts ripping drivers. There’s “swinging three clubs” guy. And, of course, the army of people whose warm up is the ball that they top off the first tee.
As we get the 2021 golf season underway, Plugged In Golf presents a guide to golf warm ups that will help you get each round started on the right foot.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You’re not sure how to prepare for golf
You want to prevent injuries
You want to play your best
Warm Up Your Body
Your first pre-round goal should be preparing your body to play golf. The most technically perfect golf swing won’t do you any good if you get sidelined by an injury.
Start with some movement to raise your temperature and get a little sweat going. You can jog, do jumping jacks, or use a cardio machine if you have access to one. Once your body feels warm, start preparing the key areas of your body with golf-specific movements. You can find a routine HERE, but any dynamic movements that warm up your shoulders, hips, and back are good.
One thing to avoid before the round is static stretching (static stretching is traditional stretching such as bending to grab your toes for ten seconds). I expect this is going to generate a slew of negative comments, but the research is clear that static stretching diminishes performance in explosive movements like the golf swing. If you want to do static stretching, do it after the round.
Warm Up Your Skills
Once your body is warm, proceed to wake up your golf skills by hitting shots, putting, or chipping. If you can get a little bit of all three, that’s great, but try not to get into the mindset of, “I can’t play well unless I do ______ before the round.”
When you’re hitting balls, try to remember that your body is still acclimating to golf. There’s no reason to smash the first ball with a 110% driver swing. Hit some pitches, some full wedges, then proceed to the irons, hybrids, and woods.
If you’re short on time, do less, but try not to rush. If you don’t have time for your normal ten iron shots, take your time and hit three good ones rather than ripping through ten shots. Starting your day in a hurried mindset can ruin your tempo.
While you’re hitting shots and warming up your short game, do everything you can to avoid creating expectations. It’s very easy to think, “I’m hitting it great…I’m going to set a course record!” or “I’m putting terribly…today is going to be miserable.” Neither is true. Every golfer has experienced being great on the range and terrible on the course and vice versa.
Rather than worrying about how your warm up will impact your round, try to be a neutral observer or focus on your process. Staying neutral can be tough, but it’s a wonderful mental state for a lot of golfers. Rather than getting stressed about hitting a bad shot, you can simply notice, “I hit the ground before the ball” and try to improve on the next swing.
If neutrality isn’t realistic for you, focus on what you can control – your process. Establish a good pre-shot routine. Pick out a clear target and concentrate on it. Swing with good tempo. Those are all patterns you can set for the day and bring to the course with you.
Focus On Your Game Plan
Finally, don’t forget to warm up your mind. Think about the key strategic things that will help you score your best [find a series of lessons on this HERE]. Perhaps you need a reminder to avoid sucker pins. You might decide in advance to hit driver off every tee, no matter what. Or you could choose to make getting on the green the priority for every short game shot rather than playing hero golf. By pre-programming these thoughts, you’ll help yourself make better decisions on the course.