By Sean Cochran
It is well known that in every professional sport athletes perform a series of flexibility exercises and drills to prepare them to play a game. The game of golf is no different. Unseen to the general public, many PGA Tour players perform a series of golf flexibility exercises to prepare them to play golf. It is done prior to hitting the driving range or putting green. It is a process of getting the muscles and joints of body ready to swing a golf club. Most every golfer on the planet understands the benefit of a warm-up program to get the body ready to play golf or any sport for that matter. Unfortunately for us the time required to perform a comprehensive golf warm-up program with golf flexibility exercises is not reasonable. Not reasonable because of time restrictions on our busy lives.
For example, we set our tee time for Friday at 1:30. Our plan when we leave the house in the morning is “I will get to course at 1:00, hit a few putts, chip for 10 minutes, head to the range, and be at the first tee with a few minutes to spare”. Unfortunately, our plans sometimes do not play out as we intended.
We get stuck with a client on the phone, a conference call runs long, we get stuck in traffic. Whatever the case may be we are caught rushing to the golf course, getting to the course with 10 minutes to spare, jump out of the car, tying our golf shoes, get to the first tee with 5 minutes to spare, haven’t hit a shot or putted….Do I need to go on? Probably not.
It is a situation that happens to us all, and I as am guilty of it as you. However as strong as I suggest performing a good warm-up, and putting yourself in the correct frame of mind for the round, life at times just does not allow us to do it.
What are we to do in such situations?
I first off would suggest not utilizing the John Daly “grip and rip it” motto if you get to the first tee without warming-up. I have seen this (myself included) lead to a myriad of problems from the get go. I can remember a few years ago I took this approach and I think made a triple bogey on the first hole. My drive went left into the rough, second shot to the right, approach shot over the green into the bunker, bunker shot rolled 20 feet past the hole. Need I go on?
Let’s just say I learned my lesson. First and foremost if you are caught in this type of situation lets not panic. Let’s put a plan together to start the round out on the right foot and keep you in a positive frame of mind. My first suggestion is not to rush and attempt to hit 3 putts, pull out driver take a few hacks, and then tee it up.
Lets take the 5 minutes we have and get the body warmed-up and ready to swing a golf club. How can we do this? Simply by putting together a series of golf stretches to “loosen” you up. Golf flexibility exercises will loosen the muscles and joints of your body. Preparing them to swing a golf club. They are simple to perform and can get your body and mind more ready to play than just a few practice swings with the driver. This will take a couple of minutes to perform, but it will help you get the body ready to swing the golf club.
Once we have got the body “loosened up” lets get the mind in the correct space. I have seen all too often the tempo of a swing is way out of whack when a golfer lacks the time to properly warm-up. Attempt to relax, take a few deep breaths, and get the body to slow down a little. This should definitely help create some better tempo in your swing from the start. Also, take your time. Once it is your turn to hit, take a little extra time. Take a few extra practice swings, relax, find your tempo, and match your first swing to the tempo of your practice swing. This is a tip I learned from Dean Reinmuth (top 50 Golf Digest teaching pros).
If you are not comfortable over the ball, step away, take a series of practice swings until you find the “right” swing and then perform that same swing over the golf ball. It has done wonders for my game. I would also suggest continuing to take extra time on every shot until you feel comfortable and have found your swing. This might not occur until the second or third hole, but it is okay. It allows you to relax, make a good swing, and make a good shot.
Finally, when you are rushed I think course management can really help. Think about it for a moment. Why not on the first tee pull out 3-wood instead of driver, even if it is a par five. Hit a nice shot into the fairway, lay-up, and play for par? Again, starting off with par or even bogey is a lot better than a double or triple, both for your scorecard and mental frame of mind.
So if you are rushing to the first tee to get your golf game going let’s review the protocol. First and foremost lets be smart and utilize the time we have at hand. Lets take the 5 minutes we have to warm-up the body for the golf swing. We will do this through the implementation of a series of golf flexibility exercises. These golf exercises will get your muscles and joints ready to swing a golf club. Once the body is ready the next step is taking your time. Take a few extra practice swings with the golf club. This will allow you to find the tempo of your golf swing. Finally lets be smart with our course management skills. Think about what is the best golf shot to make and play within ourselves until our body and mind is ready to go.
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with 2004 Masters, 2005 PGA, and 2006 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement techniques available to amateur golfers on the website http://www.bioforcegolf.com. To contact Sean, you can email him at email@example.com.
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