We all know the best way to warm up for your round. The trouble is, most golfers, especially Occasional Golfers such as you and me, rarely have time for such elaborate preparations. The last several times I've played golf I've gotten to the course with just enough time to tee off! Not ideal at all, but I don't know how I could have gotten to the course sooner, given all the other things I needed to do. But that's the way things seem to go. Sound familiar?
So what can you do to make sure you are as ready to play as you can be when you walk from the parking lot to the first tee?
The first thing you need to to is get your heart pumping. For example, if you can walk briskly to the first tee rather than ride in your cart, do it. Or jog to the first tee, or the clubhouse, or wherever you are going. The point is that if you go fast, you will get your body warmed up sooner.
Once on the tee, you need to stretch. It's always amazing to me how many people line up to hit their first shot of the day without having done even the simplest of stretches. And of course these same people need a Mulligan on their first shot, and the day starts off poorly, etc. etc.
I find that a three-step routine works well:
- Put your driver or three wood on your shoulders, take an athletic stance, and rotate your torso back and forth until you can comfortably get your shoulders past 90 degrees in both directions. If you're like me, it will take at least ten rotations to get there. This loosens your lower back and hips, which of course is a mandatory first step to making a good golf swing.
- Next, take your driver in your right hand, and put your left arm at your side or in your left pocket, and do the throw the stick drill (don't throw your club of course) at an imaginary distant target. Do this until you can swing fairly hard, and can feel the lag in your swing, and the control of your club face. This drill gets your right arm loose and starts you thinking about ball striking and swinging towards your target. Do this drill at least ten times if you can.
- Finally, do the no-backswing golf swing while aiming at a tee, or blade of grass, or something. The point of this drill is to get you thinking about hitting something definite (as opposed to just stretching) and to stretch out your left shoulder and arm. Gradually take a bigger and bigger backswing until you can execute a full swing. Ten repetitions of this drill should be all you need.
This routine takes about two minutes. Which seems to often be all the time that I have before it's time for the first shot of the day!
Miguel Angel Jiminez does not follow this routine at all. He invented his own routine that seems to work for him (though I can't imagine how...) Have a look:
Finally, remember that you are not trying to crush this first tee shot, or hit the drive of the season. You just want get off the tee without getting into too much trouble either with your score or your body!
Use this three-step warmup and you can get on the course without too much damage to yourself or your score. And try to get to the course earlier next time! I will try too.
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