Pre Round Warmup
This week’s winner is Matthew Naber, who sent a question regarding his pre-round warm up. It seems that Matthew has problems getting into a good swing rhythm before his rounds, so he wants to know how to effectively warm up on the range before a round.
I have a routine that is inspired by watching tour pros for quite a few years in the 1980s. So let me share that with you.
In my opinion, you have three objectives with those 20-30 range balls before a round of golf – and none of them are “practice”. Your goal is not to learn here, but to rehearse for the round in front of you. So let’s talk about those three objectives.
Objective #1 – Refresh the feel of solid contact
To me, the first objective is to “re-acquaint” yourself with the feel of solid contact. I like to do that by hitting some short pitches and chips – only 15-20 feet or so. Use your sand wedge, or favorite scoring wedge, make your swings at about 50-70% normal swing speed and focus only on your technique and making solid contact. A half dozen of these gets your “game face” on.
Objective #2 – Find your rhythm
Carry that feeling of solid contact to full swings, working through only 2-3 shots with short irons, middle irons, hybrid, fairway wood and driver. Again, the idea is to find a smooth swing rhythm that you can take to the course. Focus your attention on what your body is doing, not the outcome of the shot. You’re not practicing, but re-learning. With each swing, mentally bring up the picture of the shot you like to see with that club in your hand.
Objective #3 – See what’s working
What I mean is “dance with who brung you”. If your ball flight is a little higher or lower than normal . . . or a little fade rather than your normal draw . . . or vice versa, just go to the tee with that. If it corrects itself in mid round, then go back to your regular shot pattern. But don’t try to correct a small ball flight deviation on the range when you are warming up. If it will work, take it to the tee.
And finally, finish where you started. After hitting those few good drives, you are ready to go to the tee, but take the last few balls and hit a few different chip and pitch shots to refresh those in your memory. Then when you miss a green early, you’ve got fresh feedback to draw on. It works.
So Matthew, that’s a start for you to find out what works best for you. And you guys chime in with what you like to do in your pre-round routine.
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Thanks for the insight, I usually just use range time before a round to warm up the muscles, I don't normally pay attention to results unless there is an obvious issue. I will try this next time out. By the way, do you have any suggestions for the rare instance the course you are playing doens't have a range to warm up on. I usually do the "two wedge swing" with some stretcing.
Changed out says:
A few years ago I asked one of the better instructors in the Mid-West Steve Heckle the same question. He said that it is bad for your rhythm to swing with more weight than one club. It will make you speed up your swing. It is a good idea to stretch and take nice smooth long swings with a long iron. I usually swing with my left arm (I am right handed) doing the thumbs up drill where you point your thumb and the club straight up in the sky.
Tim Horan says:
I have found smooth swings of the driver with the head cover still on gives you some resistance without straining cold muscles.
I had not addressed the issue of stretching before even hitting the range balls to warm up, but that is really important. Main goal is to stretch those big muscles in the legs and butt, back and shoulders, upper arms. In fact, if you are even a semi-serious golfer, daily stretching for five minutes can be wonderful.
As for the time when there are no range ball, I like to follow stretching with 40-50 good strong swings with a mid-iron and sand wedge, then chip a few balls around the tee to get the feeling of rhythm and impact.
Thank you! I went out yesterday (before reading this) and I couldn't make solid contact with any of my favorite clubs so I just kept pushing them trying to force it. It didn't turn out well, I had to sink a 10 foot bogey putt to break 100.
Thanks to all for the advice, I will be dropping the heavy swing warmup as I have read much info about this being a bad idea since my first post.
When do we get to see your scores?
I used your tips for warm-up today. It worked wonders for my distance. My new swing, combined with the warm-up made the round more enjoyable and less taxing on my body. Thanks for the tips
That is great advice, along with stretching of course. I start with my wedges and play the flop shot for 5-6 balls - it tells me whether my contact is good and also how loose I am. The fact that it is slower full swing really works to loosen all the muscles, at least for me. Finally, I hit the driver with some old used balls from previous rounds, because the range balls almost always have no compression and i tend to slice them, which is really bad for my confidence. Comments?
Good point on the crappy range balls... That's why it's important to focus on the solid contact and not where the ball ends up...
good routine. one of my personally favorie quotes "dance with who brung ya", nice to hear you use that.
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