A consistent golf game is all about reducing variables. Think about how an added variable of a downward lie or your swing tempo can affect your game. Lifting your head slightly can affect ball contact, forgetting your shoes at home can ruin your entire round and then there is always the question of whether or not to wear glove or no glove. Eliminating these variables is key in ensuring that the 9-iron you hit on the last hole, will look like the 9-iron that you’ll hit next hole.
Personally, the variable that I am trying to keep consistent this season is my pre-round warm up. Warm-ups are important not only for reducing the risk of injury during sport, but also so that your joints and muscles get familiar with specific ranges of motion and synergistic movements. I believe that if my body gets the same warm-up before I hit the first tee box this summer, then I have eliminated another variable before the round even starts.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Your friend picks you up 15 minutes late, then you get caught in traffic and you arrive to the course 3-minutes before your tee-time. You walk briskly to the first tee, take 2 practice swings with your driver and then hit a giant duck into the forest on the left! Or the opposite, where you show up 1.5 hours early and go blue in the face hitting 500 shots at the range. Lets face it, recreational golfers have it rough when it comes to pre-round consistency. So what are the ideal criteria for a pre-round warm-up?
Here is what I’ve come up with:
1. You have to be able to perform it anywhere (no equipment required except for 1 golf club)
2. You can do the whole routine standing up (no sitting or lying on wet grass)
3. It has to be short in duration (2.5 minutes max.) to accommodate for late arrivals to the course
4. It has to involve movements that are helpful for a golf swing and has to be all dynamic (no static stretching!) There is research evidence that dynamic, movement based warm-ups are safer and more helpful than static stretching before sport)
A 2-Minute Dynamic Golf Warm-up
1. 5 reps of hip swings on each leg
2. 5 reps of hip openers on each leg
3. 5 squats with arms overhead
4. 5 shoulder cross-body punches with over pressure on each side
5. 5 thoracic spine side bend/ opposite rotations with club overhead on each side
6. 5 shadow swings with arm and hip disassociation. 5 reps only to mimic the way that you swing