Most golfers are excited and very enthusiastic about getting back out on the golf course. Clubs get tossed into the trunk without checking to see if you have what you need for the round. Remember taking your putter to the den to practice during the winter? Did you put it back in the bag? You will not be happy on the first green when you discover one of your clubs is at home or at the office.
Some golfers race to their favorite course; speeding will create tension, the last thing you want to feel when you play golf. Then they rush on to the first tee without ever warming up and BAM! A muscle gets pulled, the back goes out, the shot flies into the woods, out of bounds or barely makes it off the ground and rolls only a few yards. We will call these golfers the “hares.” Not exactly what you had in mind, is it?
Whether it’s a sports injury that will keep you away from the game for weeks or maybe even the entire golf season, or a bad shot that creates tension and sets the stage for more bad shots, rushing will not help your game. You might want to try this instead: think “turtle.” Slow and steady will get you into the swing again. Take your time and savor every moment of your experience playing the great game of golf. It is as easy as 1, 2, and 3!
First, make sure you have what you will need to play your round of golf. Check your bag. Do you have all your golf clubs in your bag? Check to see if you have enough golf balls & tees, a marker & divot tool. Add a fresh supply of band-aids, and sunscreen and don’t forget your golf shoes & sunglasses. Packing a snack to keep your energy level up is a good idea too.
Second, allow yourself adequate time to get to the golf course to warm up before your tee time. When we get anxious we tend to do things quicker and this creates tension, blocking the flow we need in a golf swing. Tour players are famous for playing music with a slow beat, driving slow and walking slowly to keep pre-game tension to a minimum.
Go to the range, pick up your wedge and just feel the motion of your swing in slow motion. This is not the time to practice; just warm up the muscles and find your tempo for the round. Once you have warmed up work your way through each club in your bag, taking 4 – 5 shots with each club, changing targets for each shot. Be sure to go through your routine while warming up to get into the proper mind set for the round. Finish your warm up on the putting green to get a feel for the green speed.
Finally, use tension reduction techniques as part of your pre shot routine. It’s as simple as taking a deep breath, imagining the golf shot you want, and smiling. These are all techniques to reduce tension and create powerful messages from your mind to your muscles to achieve the goal you have in mind. When we are tense we tend to take quick short breaths or even hold our breath. Tension also occurs when we think about a negative consequence, so visualize the shot you want not the shot you do not want. Tension also makes us frown. Try it now. Put a frown on your face and notice the tension in your body. Now, think of something you are truly grateful for and smile. It really does feel different. So get to that first tee and put a big old smile on your face; be grateful to be on the golf course once again after a winter of hibernation.
Taking these few steps will help you gracefully swing into spring and not stumble into summer. Golf is just getting started for the season. Enjoy every moment and remember to think like a turtle when you swing into spring this year.