Proper warm up is essential for peak performance in any sport. If you attend any professional sporting event, you always see athletes going through a pre-game warm up, and pro golfers are no different. By the time tour professionals step on to the first tee, they are fully prepared to make their best swings from the opening tee shot.
Most amateurs, however, get ‘warmed up’ by dashing from their cars to the pro shop to check in, then running to the first tee, all within 15 minutes.
Usually this is followed by unsteady play for the first three or four holes, ending up with another disappointing round. In my opinion, with this style of warm up, golfers are making bogies before they even start the game. To avoid this I recommend you try the following routine.
Get to the course early
You need enough time to take care of your check-in in the pro shop, use the restroom, change your shoes, have a coffee etc. It is important that you do not feel rushed. So allow time to complete this entire warm up period at a leisurely pace. Remember, your warm up routine sets the tempo for the day, so move slowly and relax. I recommend that you arrive at the course a minimum of 30-40 minutes before your tee time.
Begin warming up on the putting green
Putting is 40-45% of a game of golf and the putting stroke is the slowest and smoothest of all strokes in golf. By spending time warming up on the putting green first, you will not only be prepared for the speed of the greens but you will also be starting the day with a smooth, deliberate tempo. Spend the first five minutes putting to a tee or a coin from 20 feet away and from a variety of angles. Watch the ball and pay attention to how much the ball rolls. Speed control is critical in putting and time spent judging pace will pay off on the course. Many people often complain that the greens on the golf course are not the same as the practice greens. Normally the only difference between the two is the pressure to perform well. Normally the practice green is cut at the same height with the same mower and is usually constructed in the same manner as the greens on the course. The putts you roll on the course count and the pressure to perform makes the greens seem different.
You should then spend another five minutes or so rolling putts to a tee or coin from 10 feet down to three feet. Do not putt to a hole. You never want to see the ball miss the hole, so just use a tee or coin. Also, if you roll putts at a small target like a tee or coin, the hole will seem huge and, therefore, your confidence level will be high. Confidence is vital to good putting.
By Seán Hawker