Arrive to your tee time early. So often we rush to get to the golf course, grab our clubs out of the car & dash off to the first tee. Try this instead. Get your sunscreen on at home and try to arrive 30 – 60 minutes early and take the parking spot that is farthest from the club house. That’s right: FARTHEST. This will allow your muscles to warm up as you walk to the Pro Shop. Now that you are early and your muscles are warmed up you can spend a little time stretching. Remember to stretch slowly until you feel resistance, hold for 3 – 5 seconds then take a deep breath and see if you can move a little deeper into the stretch. This will eventually increase your range of motion. Never stretch to the point that you feel pain or make fast jerky movements. Be sure to stretch both your upper and lower body and both sides of your body. Balance is Key!
After stretching, go to the practice range and start with a few nice easy swings with your sand wedge. Don’t worry about where the ball is going or how far; just ease into the movement. Once you have found your swing then you can start focusing on your target. Slowly work your way through your bag up to your driver. This is not the time to make changes; just be aware of what swing you have and what you can expect on the golf course so you can plan your strategy for the day. There is a big difference between warming up for a round of golf and practice. You are warming up, not trying to integrate a new swing change. Now move over to the putting green and check your stroke for both directional & distance control.
With time to spare you can stop in and grab a bottle of water to keep you refreshed on the golf course. Often the summer heat and humidity can sneak up on you and ruin your golf performance. Staying hydrated and having a healthy snack in your golf bag can keep you on top of your game. Try to avoid beverages or food that drain your energy levels and make choices that will help you to both enjoy and enhance your game.
As you approach the first tee try to keep a positive frame of mind. In case this is hard for you to do just remember you are on the golf course, not in a third world country, off at war or in a hospital room. Be grateful and enjoy your round of golf. Sometimes it is better to count our blessings rather than our score. Not all of us are meant to be on tour and there is certainly more than one reason to play this game like being with friends, getting fresh air and exercise, enjoying the scenery just to name a few. Enjoy yourself, your golfing buddies and the beautiful natural surroundings of the golf course. While you are at it you might want to tip your golf cap to the course superintendent, pro shop clerk and other golf course personnel who work hard to make your golf experience more enjoyable.
Allowing yourself to remove common stressors out of your golf game will not only help your attitude but can improve your game. Stress equals tension and tension kills a golf swing. The next time you are feeling a little “intense” about your game try to catch yourself before it snowballs. Take a deep breath, and take a reality check. Are your expectations realistic? Sure we would all love to play like the tour pros but do we really want to work as hard as they do for that perfect consistent and repeatable swing? If you set your expectations too high you will only be hurting yourself and life is way too short for that, so set reachable and realistic goals to improve your game. And as always if you need help check with your local LPGA or PGA Professional who is dedicated to helping you with your golf game.