One of the most common mistakes I see amateurs make as I look out the golf shop window here at Cranberry Highlands is the lack of warming up before heading out to the first tee. How many times have you found yourself struggling to make a good golf swing before you reach the 10th tee? Do yourself a favor and arrive at the golf course 45 minutes ahead of your scheduled tee time to get your body ready to play golf.
Here is my approach to warming up:
Start with the short shots
Begin your warm-up on the practice green. Here at Cranberry Highlands, Our practice greens are maintained exactly the same way as the greens on the golf course. Roll a few puts from different distances to get a feel for the speed that day. Next, head to the short game area at the range and hit a few chips and pitch shots to activate the small muscles in your hands and arms. By starting your warm-up with the short shots, you will notice it is easier to begin hitting full shots. The feel and confidence you establish around the practice green will help you in all aspects of your game.
Start Slow on the Range
Once you head to the range tee, don’t immediately take out the driver and start swinging for the fences. Instead, start slow by hitting some half wedge shots while concentrating on your tempo and shoulder/hip rotation. Then begin hitting full wedge shots, followed by 9 Iron, 7 Iron, 5 Iron, Hybrid, 3 Wood, and Driver. Always be conscious of your target throughout your warm-up so that you can establish your tendencies for the day. Are you fading it? Are you hooking it? Is the ball going farther or shorter than normal? Paying attention to these tendencies will allow you to be more confident on the golf course because you have a better idea of where your ball is going.
Finish with your first tee shot in mind
Once you feel you are loose and warmed up, always finish with whatever club you will hit off the first tee. Visualize that first fairway and hit tee shots until you hit a good one. Once that happens, STOP! Always end your warm-up on a good shot so you can take those positive vibes with you to the first tee. If you have time to kill before your tee time, roll a few more putts on the practice green. Never waste that time beating balls and wearing yourself out. You also don’t want to give yourself the opportunity to hit some bad shots right before you tee off. This will allow those negative thoughts to creep into your mind and ruin your chances at a good round.
I hope that my take on a solid warm-up routine will help you play more consistent golf this season! Stay tuned each month for more tips from myself and our resident teaching professional, Jody Barrett. We look forward to seeing you on the course here at Cranberry Highlands!