When it comes to getting a few extra yards and taking a few strokes off our golf game no fancy new driver or revolutionary new golf ball seems too far-fetched.
But what if I told you that you can get even better results from proper preparation? Armed with nothing but a pro warm-up routine and a little know-how, you could add a dozen yards to your drive and take several strokes off your scorecard.
Follow these 10 simple tips and get those scores you’ve been dreaming about.
Tip #1: Warm-Up
I wish two draft beers and half a cigar was a warm-up but it is NOT. Full body movements that include trunk flexing, extending, and rotation are a great start. Other dynamic warm-up moves should target hip rotation in all directions. Lastly, making sure that your shoulders are prepared for all parts of your backswing and follow through will ensure a good first shot from the tee box.
Tip #2: Hydrate
Being only 10% dehydrated can lead to a loss of up to 5% of your ability to produce power.
That means that if you’re used to hitting your 9-iron 130 yards, now you’ve lost 7 yards. Do you like hitting that 5-iron 180? Not anymore: Now you’re only hitting it 170. Any good golfer knows how important being on your distances can be when trying to beat the course. It’s pretty hard to know how far you will hit your clubs if you are not properly hydrated.
Tip #3: Get Fueled Up
If you think hydration is important for athletic output, then you’d better understand how vital proper pre-golf nutrition is to your success. Golf is a marathon with bouts of some pretty explosive movement mixed in over the course of a lot of walking and strategizing. If you don’t have a good base of calories and blood sugar to start with, it’s like trying to go drive from D.C. to Maine on only a half a tank of gas. It’s not going to be pretty.
Tip #4: Keep on the Gravy Train
It’s so easy to get lost in the competition of the game of golf. The excitement of good shots. The frustration of duffs and slices. It’s all any of us can do to keep our heads together. Now, try limiting your brain’s energy source during a round and the mental game gets a lot harder. Try something as simple as some trail mix, an energy drink, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Any or all of these will keep your mind sharp and your muscles purring.
Tip #5: Be Strong
This isn’t necessarily something you can do before each round of golf, but it should be in the forefront of your mind if getting better at golf is the goal. There are so many strength-building activities that I can’t even begin to mention them all here. But as long as you know that strength is built in the offseason, sped up in the preseason, and hopefully maintained in some manner during the season, then you’re ahead of the game.
Tip #6: Be Flexible
Another result of a regular golf-specific training program. You’re not going to see a lot of true flexibility gains from a few stretches before a round of golf. What you will feel is a much more prepared nervous system, and joint mobility which will both translate to your golf game as more pure and efficient mobility. This is key for anyone trying to beat a course, break a distance mark, or just get through a round without nagging aches and pains.
Tip #7: Be Coached
Lots of people play golf without having much technical skill. Lots of folks are good athletes or have played sports their entire lives but things seem to change when they pick up a golf club. We find that their athletic experience just doesn’t transfer. As a lifelong baseball athlete, I can speak to this frustration firsthand. There are few things more frustrating than having difficulty hitting that little white ball that’s lying there on the ground.
But put me, or any other experienced athlete, back into their familiar setting like holding a baseball bat, tennis racquet, or a basketball and things feel right again. Once you get a pro to look at you swing a club and help you refine some of your technique… well, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t found a solid coach yet, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll help you find one. We know all of the best coaches in the area because all of the best coaches send their best to us.
Tip #8: Be Hardened
Sometimes toughness counts. Playing sports is difficult. Sometimes pain is part of progress. Knowing the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain starts in off-season golf-strengthening programs and continues in life. Those of us who know what “good” pain is also spend less time sitting out practices or rounds of golf because we know how useful movement is for healing and furthering our own athletic progress.
Tip #9: Periodize
This term might not be familiar to even serious golfers but to a strength coach or a #nextgenPT, this is one of the most important pieces of the golf strength, injury prevention and performance puzzle. This is the term we use to describe how training programs change depending upon a golfer’s current fitness level and the time of the year (golf season) that we are working.
For example, how important is it for a golfer who lives in the mid-Atlantic or northeast of the US to be the most explosive and most ready to play golf in December? Think about that. Does it help that golfer to have their best chances of high-level performance in the winter? Of course not. So what we’ve done is created golf-specific programming for all of the different phases of the year and competition/play. In this way, we periodize the golfer for the maximum benefit of each training and injury prevention phase (or period) to maximize physical abilities during the golf season.
Tip #10: Plan for Rest and Recovery
This shouldn’t be the first time any good golfer has heard that they should be taking proper care of their body after some time at the range or an actual round of golf. This might, however, be the first time that you realize that this could be the single most important and easiest thing you can do to ensure a pain-free and rewarding golf season.