Sometimes life forces us right from the parking lot to the first tee, and wouldn’t you know it, we play some of the best golf of the season. However, this is the exception and the best plan is to work on arriving prior to your tee time to allow for some warm-up.
Where most of our students go wrong is how they dedicate their time and on which aspects of their game they choose to focus on. The typical pre-round warm-up consists of a few practice swings and repetitive slashes with the driver. After watching the clip below on Tiger Woods’ pre-round routine, we immediately see he spends a majority of his time and effort on shots inside of 150 yards, and most importantly, he works on calibrating his feel with the putter, not the driver.
Next time you have a few spare minutes before the round, go to the practice green instead of the driving range. Hit 5-to-10 long putts (over 30 feet) and observe the speed of the ball. Are you coming up short or running your putts well beyond the hole? Work on adjusting the length of the backstroke until you are hitting the longer putts past the hole with a comfortable putt coming back.
Next, look to dial in some mid-range and short putts. A great drill is using the one-armed putting stroke that Tiger uses — it’s best with the right arm for right-handed golfer — to feel the arc and path of the stroke.
Once you’re confident on the greens, move on to some pitching, chipping and sand work.
Finally, if you have time, progress to your full swing. This type of routine will prepare you to score instead of clouding your mind with swing thoughts and images of poorly struck shots before heading to the first tee.
NOTE: Even if you do have time to work on full swing, follow the lead of Tiger and other pros. Work from the bottom of the bag up to the longer clubs. Vary the shots, distances and shape. Remember this is a warm up, not a practice session. The goal is to start the round ready to score, not learn a new swing motion!