Have you ever wondered how a golf professional prepares for a round? Before a competitive round a golf professional normally arrives at the course hours before their tee time. They begin with stretches to loosen their body up and move to the practice green. Professional’s focus on other short game areas such as chips, pitches and bunker shots. Next, they work on their full swing at the practice range. Typically, they spend a few more minutes on the putting green before they head to the first tee. There is no doubt they are fully prepared physically and mentally for their upcoming round.
I routinely witness amateur players arrive at the golf course with only a few minutes to spare. They spend little or no time warming up and the first few holes result in bogeys or worse. While you don’t need to go through an in depth routine such as a tour professional, however, you will benefit by spending a few minutes warming up before your round.
Try to arrive early and develop a consistent routine before every round. Stretching is an important aspect to prepare your body for the upcoming movements and prevent injury. Static stretching is regularly used to improve flexibility. However, static stretching does little to contract the muscles needed to generate powerful golf swings. An example of a static stretch is touching your toes. Dynamic stretches help improve range of motion while reducing muscle stiffness. In fact, a recent article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that a dynamic warm up routine increased strength and flexibility whereas a warm up with static stretching did not show any positive changes in muscle flexibility or strength. Many athletes prefer dynamic stretches during their warm up routine. An example of a dynamic stretch is arm swings.
After your muscles are properly warmed up continue your warm up routine. Try to follow a program where you start with smaller swings and move to bigger swings. This helps prevent the potential for injury. Therefore, begin with some practice on the putting green, developing a feel for the speed of the greens. After a few minutes of putting, hit a few chips and pitches. Finally, make your way to the practice range and begin with wedges while eventually moving up toward a driver. This progression will prepare you for the round and also help keep you injury free. There is a reason why tour professionals do not begin their warm up routine by ripping drivers.
Unfortunately, there are times when you can not arrive thirty minutes or more before your tee time. If you only have a few minutes, use the time wisely and stretch out with a few dynamic movements. Next, spend a few minutes rolling a few putts or hitting a few chips and pitches. The short game will determine how well you score throughout the round.
-Matt Keller, PGA
Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.