I expect you appreciate that when things are warmed up they tend to run or perform better. You only have to think about a motor car for example. Many vehicle owners will often run the engine for a while before setting off on a journey. This enables the engine to warm up under less pressure. It also allows the oil to heat up in order to lubricate the engine components under less stress so they are ready to handle the higher RPM’s as the car moves along on its specific route. In colder weather too this helps to assist with the engine reaching optimum temperature so that all parts are firing and suitably expanded before the engine begins to engage other moving parts such as the axles, wheels and suspension.
This kind of example perfectly illustrates why sports men and women in all manner of disciplines find it necessary to have a pre-match warm-up routine in order to prepare their bodies for the rigors of what is about to take place in the field. And golf is no different. Now, whilst you may not be flying down the field looking to catch a football or exploding out of the traps for a 100m sprint, golf still requires that you engage specific actions, muscles and thought processes before you walk onto the first tee.
This point is proved by the hundreds of golfers who have found a rhythm after playing a few holes only to wish they had taken the time to play a few pitches, chips, putts or even loosen themselves up with a few bombs on the driving range. The question remains – Is it essential?
Well, if it is not clear enough already, consider for a moment that the pre-round warm-up is something that the pro’s do without even questioning it. It is their starter before the main course. So, in its simplest form, if a tour pro feels that it is an essential part of their game then why would we think that it is something that we can skip on. I guess the foremost reason for ignoring the importance of a warm up is down to not having or not making enough time. Amateurs do not get paid to play and apart from elite amateurs most golfers play for fun or the occasional piece of silverware in the club house trophy cabinet. They have other things going on in their lives so cannot often dedicate a whole day to a leisurely drive to the club, 1-2 hour warm up, playing the round of golf before heading back to the driving range to work on errors highlighted during the round. There is simply not enough time in their schedules and as it does not translate to an extra few thousand dollars in prize money to iron out any flat spots which may cause us to slip down the Official Golf World Rankings, then why would they bother? After all, it typically only equates to pride and a personal sense of improvement. Well, recall the question, is it essential?
I believe the answer is yes, but not for the same reasons why a tour pro would say it is essential. Amateur golfers desire to play better and the search for the Holy Grail is evident by the multi-billion dollar industry built to deliver the golden nugget that will transform our games. It drives us all. That is the very short version of the answer as to why it is essential. I am a firm believer that an effective warm up routine can and will deliver the opportunity to drop strokes off your final score.
Having said all that, we do need to find a balance and I must stress that we need to find a balance for us personally depending on our level of playing ability and commitment. You may be the golfer who genuinely does not take golf too seriously and has no major concerns with how you play on any given day. What about the golfer who simply does not have time to warm up? Could it be that you do not play often enough to warrant the concern. On the other hand you may be searching for a way to improve your scores. You may be frustrated with hearing how good your swing is and yet constantly post scores of over 80, 90 or even 100.
If this is you I’d like you to consider this. I have played many rounds of golf with no warm-up at all and it is with this in mind that I implore you to consider why it is so important because the rounds where I spent even just a little time preparing myself resulted in a completely different experience and scorecard compared to those rounds where I simply rushed from the car to the first tee. A little later we will go through some example routines you can utilize depending on your skill level and time available. It is my desire that you do not read this as arrogance, but rather my wish to show that a pre-round warm up is absolutely necessary to give yourself the best chance to play great golf.
Just for a moment I would like you to consider this fact. You shoot 18 over par fairly consistently around your home course but you are looking to reduce your handicap. You never warm up and you are always complaining to your playing partners that it takes you the front 9 holes to find a groove. When you review your scorecards you usually find that you start with one or two double bogeys before settling down to a mix of pars and bogeys. The same principle would apply to the 9 handicap golfer, who is fairly consistent over 72 holes of golf and yet can throw double bogey, bogey on the first two holes before settling down to a mix of pars, bogeys and the occasional birdie.
Is it fair to say that a 9 or 18 handicap golfer could remove 3-5 shots just by warming up instead of rushing to the first tee? I am of the opinion that the answer is “yes”.
Now, I must make one thing clear because we all know that a golf score is dictated to by more than just a warm up. You need to engage the most important muscle of them all (the brain) every time you play and of course you need to have a relatively sound swing. These factor also contribute to better scores. However, I firmly believe from playing hundreds of rounds of golf and analyzing many other golfers’ scorecards that if you were simply – better prepared on the first tee you would have a greater chance to reduce your scores. With the above example, if a 9 handicap golfer could change his or her approach to the first few holes and give themselves a chance of securing opening pars then there is every chance of them reducing their handicap just by eliminating errors caused by what I feel is down to a lack of preparation?
I am of the opinion that many golfers use the first few holes as their warm-up and therefore commit golfing suicide. Why should you accept double bogey golf for the few first holes? What is wrong with making three pars in a row because you have prepared effectively and used course management to find a rhythm straight from the whistle?
If you agree with the above then feel free to download my latest book on the GOLF WARM-UP. It will cover:
1. Valuable lessons from watching Tour Pros.
2. Definition of the benefits of a pre round warm up.
4. A consideration of the 3 vital components of a pre round warm up.
5. Time based routines that you can implement.
You can download it HERE
What you do with this information is up to you, and although it is only one aspect of the game I can assure you that it is a significant one that has the ability to reward you no matter what your handicap level is.
Take care and Happy Golfing