3 July 2022
Often, we find standing on the first tee one of the most daunting moments of a round – especially if we haven’t warmed up before teeing off! So below I’m going to list some key tips to help you feel more prepared for that first tee shot.
We all have aches and pains, especially if it’s been a few days since we’ve swung a golf club. And to avoid injuries in the future, it’s really important that you learn to warm up properly and give your body time to get loose. It doesn’t have to be anything special, and it certainly doesn’t have to be anything like a work-out. Keep things simple by stretching the muscles you feel are most stiff and those which you feel you use most when swinging the club. Here’s some simple ones you can do in the locker room if you like:
Reach one arm straight across your chest and use your other arm to stretch it further, you will probably feel it in your shoulder and upper arm.
2. Familiarise yourself with the greens
This one is particularly important if you’re playing somewhere you have never played before as green speeds do change depending on the course. It can be really beneficial to start by hitting some long putts to get to grips with the pace of the greens. You don’t have to set anything complicated up – simply place a tee about 2ft behind the hole and try finishing your putts no further than the tee and not short of the hole either. This gives you a larger target to work with while you get used to the speed. Once you feel you’ve got the hang of the speed, you can start varying the distances and trying to two putt. While varying the putts make sure to practice your routine methodically. This can be a great way to get into your rhythm for the round.
3. Don’t forget the chipping!
Something that is quite overlooked in a warm up is chipping practice as it can be a little time consuming. However, the benefits really are worth the time. Not only does the chipping allow you to get even more used to the speed of the greens but it also lets your body stretch a little and warm up for the longer shots. Before choosing which wedge to practice with it’s important, if you can, to know a little about the course you are going to be playing. If the greens are small, undulating, and you’ll be chipping from thicker or longer grass (usually a parkland course), then you’re going to need more loft. In contrast, if the greens are larger, flatter and the grass is cut shorter (more likely a links course), you can change your club choice to something with a little less loft. Try and get comfortable with the shots you believe you might have to play as you’re going around the course.
4. Hit Up the Range
Once you’re more comfortable with the chipping and start feeling warmed up, stop off at the range. Start with the shorter clubs and don’t rush things. You only really need about 15 shots or so if you take the proper time over them. Try hitting alternate clubs so if you start with your 9 iron continue to hit your 7 iron then your 5 iron etc. And finally, hit a couple extra shots with the club you are planning on hitting off the first tee. This should ease any nerves and allow you to find a rhythm with that club. Don’t worry about how you’re hitting the ball – just keep your focus on warming up your body, it’s two very different things hitting balls on the range and on the course.
5. Bag Check!
Lastly, it’s important that your body and your mind are both warmed up. So, check you have everything you need in your bag. Essentials such as water, snacks, waterproof layers, and golf balls etc. cannot be overlooked and the more organised you are, the more relaxed your body and mind will be. You want to give yourself as little to think about before teeing off as possible.
One more thing to note for your warmup is time management. While it is an entirely personal preference, if you leave yourself too much time hanging around the course before teeing off it can lead you to become impatient and waste energy. Don’t spend hours on the practice ground before playing, you’ll need your energy more than that extra 20mins on the range!
Finally, learn to improvise – don’t do things just because you see other people doing it! The most important and effective warm up is doing whatever is going to make you feel most confident and ready for the round. If the course you’re playing doesn’t have all the facilities to warm up how you’d like to, don’t panic. Just do what you can, where you can, and most of all do what makes you most happy!
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