As spring weather is quickly approaching, golf is heavy on our minds! We can’t wait to get out and breathe some fresh golf course air, bomb our drivers off the tee and hear the sound of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup. However, with a long winter layoff, the vision of playing good golf may require a little time spent on the driving range.
Develop these 4 habits this spring in order to be able to take your game from the driving range to the golf course without hours of hitting balls:
1. ‘Play’ a hole on the Driving Range
It is very easy to grab a small bucket of balls and aimlessly hit shots, rapid fire, until we hit a few good shots and feel like we’re ready for the day. Only to get out on the first tee and slice a ball into the cornfield or hook one into the fairway bunker.
Get your mind ready to play the first hole by using the same clubs on the driving range, never hitting the same club two times in a row. Be sure to pick specific targets, start with your driver, move to a club you would use on the fairway, then chip up to the green or move on to the next hole. I always like to make sure to play the Par 3’s as well, as they seem to be holes that give me the most trouble!
2.Practice your Pre-Shot
Do you think a basketball player practice’s is routine for shooting free throws? You bet he does! Pre-shot routines, not matter how basic or complex, give us the confidence we need to pull a shot off in a pressure situation.
What if, by doing a pre-shot routine, you saved yourself the frustration of chunking a ball in the water or slicing a ball out of bounds? We often hit poor shots due to a lack of concentration- caught up in thinking about the worst case scenario rather than the desired result. Practicing a simple pre-shot routine can give you the advantage of focusing your thoughts before tricky shots and help you shoot lower scores
3.Warm up your muscles with simple stretches
Do you ever feel like it takes a few holes for your muscles to loosen up and get in the groove? Whether you spend time on the range or rush to the tee, take time to perform some simple stretches so you won’t need a few holes to warm up.
A standing twist (loosens the back), arm circles (loosens the shoulders and gets blood flowing to muscles) and simple shoulder and tricep stretches are all very effective and can be done on the first tee!
4.Hit short putts and lag putts
Before teeing off, be sure to practice putts that will help lower your score. Practice lag putts (30-50 feet) so you can get a feel for the speed of the greens and feel what kind of stroke it will take to get the ball within 3 feet of the hole to help eliminate the dreaded 3 putt.
Wrap up your putting by making five 3 foot putts. You are rarely going to make those 15 foot putts, why spend the 5 minutes before tee off time missing putts? By getting a good feel for the speed of the greens and rolling in short putts, you will go to the first tee with confidence in your putting stroke!
Hello readers! My name is Crystal Morse and I'm a PGA Professional working as the PGA Director of Player Development at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Indiana and also a High School Golf Coach (among many other things). Enjoy the read!