This golf tip edition is brought to you by “Da Game Breaker,” whose goal is to help the average weekend player play better, have more fun, and enjoy taking that charity contribution away from your buddies on the 19th hole.
Preparing For The Round
We all know time is precious. If your schedule (and wife) allows you to golf more than one round a week, then you should consider yourself lucky. Most of us hackers pull into the parking lot, check in, and go straight to the first tee. If we don’t get stuck in traffic and arrive with a few minutes to spare, we stop by the putting green for 3 or 4 quick putts and we’re good to go! Then we use the first 3 holes to loosen up, get the pace of the greens right, and get our mind on the game. By the fourth hole, we’re finally ready to play. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we start keeping score after the first hole? Let’s face it, the game starts before you get to the first tee.
The only way to solve this problem is to be prepared. Proper preparation for your round is important because it prevents physical injury and builds confidence. Ultimately, preparation makes your time on the course more enjoyable. The thing to remember about “preparing for the round” is just that: preparing. Merriam-Webster defines “preparing” as “making something ready for use.” In the game of golf, being prepared means more than arriving at the course with your clubs and the right pair of shoes. This readiness I’m referencing involves gearing up your physical and mental state for the round. Before taking a seat in the golf cart, you must make time to prepare. Going to the range right before you tee off is the best time to get your body ready for the game. While we recommend 1 hour to properly prepare, we also know most of us don’t have that much time. But if you can spare just 30 minutes to “prepare for the round,” you will see immediate results.
There are few simple things you can do during this 30 minute prep-time to maximize your efforts:
- Before picking up your clubs, take some time to stretch. We all know proper stretching and loosening up the old bones helps prevent injuries on the course; yet, so few of us actually allow time to warm-up our muscles.
- Then, we recommend you spend a few minutes hitting some sand wedges (about 10 balls) only about 30 – 40 yards. This will help loosen the muscles, be a bit safer for your body, build good tempo and create good timing for the day.
- Next, only hit about 3 shots with any of your scoring irons using your full swing. Repeat this process with a couple of mid irons, again with a couple of long irons, then with your fairway woods, and finally with your driver (of course). Don’t be concerned about where the balls go or how far you hit. Remember, you are preparing your body, not practicing. A key factor here is to take time between shots to allow your muscles to recover; the objective is not to fire balls in rapid succession.
- Focus the next 10 minutes on chipping. Chipping is so often left out of the equation but is almost as critical as driving or putting. I bet if you counted how many times you chipped during a round you’d be surprised.
- Spend the last 5 minutes trying to see how many 2 foot putts in a row you can make (to the back of the hole mind you).
- Go have fun!
By the way, don’t confuse preparation with practice. Practice time should occur either after the round (which is the best time to practice), or on another day when you can devote adequate time working on your game. Right before the round is not the time for practice. Instead, choose another day when you are not playing 18 holes to have an intense practice session.
Be sure to tip your “Game Breaker” 10% of those charitable donations you collect on the 19th hole for helping you play better, have more fun, and simply enjoying the greatest game there is.