Please tell me if this sounds familiar. Tee time is 9:30am. You pull into the parking lot at 8:53am, take your bag out of your car, put your shoes on, and walk into the golf shop at 9:02am to check-in. You grab a small bucket and proceed to the practice range to “warm-up”. What transpires over the next 20 minutes could be the equivalent of 3 golf lessons. Your whole round and demeanor is based on those precious few minutes. If you start off great then you are confident and ready to play and if it is anything less than spectacular, there are doubts. Many doubts.

This is where a shift needs to be made.

I understand if you can’t get to the club earlier as there are other obligations but if you can, I would recommend splitting up your “warm up” time into 2 parts: 1.) the part where you stretch your body and 2.) the part where you focus on a target and stay confident. This is not a time for dramatic swing changes! Your swing will not change in that period of time and it will only cause harm when you step on the first tee.

Now I know this is starting to sound familiar to some of you. The question now is how I change it.

Step 1 – Show up, if possible, with ample time to warm-up. Ideally, give yourself at least 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Stretch for about 5-10 minutes focusing on your lower body, core, and neck/shoulders. Hit some short pitch shots to warm up the swing.
Step 3 – Work through your bag in even or odd numbers (9, 7, 5, etc.) hitting only a few balls with each club and focusing on your aim and target. Your swing should not be the focus.
Step 4 – End your full swing warm-up with the club you will be hitting on the 1st tee trying to visualize the hole and the shot you would like to hit. If you have never played the course before then simply hit your fairway wood or driver and focus on the target and your pre-shot routine.
Step 5 – Go over to the practice putting green and roll some short and long putts to get a feel for the green speed and break.
Step 6 – Clear your mind and focus on having a fun round and enjoying each shot. There are a lot worse places to be so you have to forget about your “warm-up” whether good or bad and focus on the round ahead and hitting quality shots each and every time.

There will be variations to this program depending on your certain situation and facility and you can change it to fit your personal needs. However, keep in mind that the warm-up is just that, a chance to warm up your body, not a place to re-invent the wheel.

Stay focused and have fun during your next round and you will amazed at the results you can achieve.