In almost every sport, you’ll see every athlete warming up by stretching and getting mentally prepared for the battle that lies ahead. Even in golf, the pros show up to the course almost three hours before their tee time to prepare for their round. Unfortunately, this is an area that amateur golfers seem to overlook.
Most amateurs will show up 15 minutes before their tee time, roll a few putts, and then head straight to the tee box. Warming up for a round of golf goes beyond hitting a few putts on the practice green.
Setting yourself up for success starts well before the first tee. Just like a pre-shot routine, it’s important for golfers to have a pre-round routine as well. Here are a few things to consider applying to your warm ups.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
There’s no reason to add additional stress to the game of golf by rushing to make a tee time. Getting to the course early is the first step to a promising round. If you don’t have enough time to effectively warm up, then it’s going to cost you on the course.
Activate Your Glutes and Other Muscles
You may recall last year when Tiger Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods had a bizarre interview with the media which he kept blaming “deactivated glutes” as a big reason for his withdrawal from the tournament.
As ridiculous as this sounds, there’s plenty of truth behind his comments. Amateurs don’t realize how many muscles actually go into swinging a golf club, but it’s time to start educating yourself.
Your butt muscles play a major role in helping generate power for golfers and they also help to maintain posture throughout your swing. An easy exercise to help activate your glutes is to lay on the ground with your feet flat, raising your pelvis, which ultimately engages your glutes. This may seem silly, but it plays an important role.
Don’t just stop with your glutes. Stretch out other important muscles like your hamstrings, calves, shoulders, neck, and back. Getting a full stretch in will not only help get you loose, but it can also help prevent injuries.
If you ever get a chance, check out Miguel Angel Jimenez and his pre-round stretches. It’s one of the best of any pro out there.
Visualize the First Shot
Your tee time may be may not be for another hour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about the first tee shot. Hitting that first shot is usually the most nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Start visualizing it ahead of time.
If the first hole happens to be near the putting green, glance over to see what you’ll be dealing with just so you’re prepared when you step up there. Can you safely use driver or should you use a club you’re more comfortable with?
No need to overanalyze the situation, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with it. If you hit balls on the driving range beforehand, practice the first shot you’ll be hitting. Having that confidence ahead of time can make all the difference from hitting a fairway and hitting a shank.
Take Your Putting Seriously
It’s always nice to get some reps in on the driving range to loosen up, but most of your time should be spent on the putting green. After all, most of the shots you take in a round are with the flat stick.
Most of the time, the putting greens are set up just like the greens on the course, so it’s crucial that you take your putting practice seriously. Rather than mindlessly hitting putts, take the time to understand the true roll of the greens. Figure out how much break goes into the putts and take that knowledge with you to the course.
Start with shorter putts to build your confidence early and then move to 10, 15, and 20 footers. Once you have the greens figured out, move to the rough and repeat the process with your chipping.
Figuring out an effective pre-round warmup can do wonders for a golfer’s round. If you show up to the course at your scheduled tee time, you’ll spend the first few holes trying to get into a good rhythm and give up strokes along the way. Stop giving away shots and start warming up.