There are generally two kinds of golfers: those that come flying into the parking lot on two wheels while their group is walking up to the first tee and then there are those that arrive with plenty of time to spare and get limbered-up, read every angle of the practice green, and do some yoga stretches before their buddies even arrive.
Be honest with yourself: Do you rush to the first tee without even so much as a couple warm-up swings? Or hit a handful obligatory range balls before heading out to play? If so, you’re like the majority of recreational golfers, according to a 2018 study published by the World Scientific Congress of Golf. But you’re also losing strokes on the first few holes, if not the entire round.
While there is no official “strokes gained warm-up” metric, ignoring your body’s pre-round flexibility and mobility needs can definitely show up in your scoring as seen in the Arccos Strokes Gained Analytics Feature. Our cadre of Arccos Ambassadors recently offered up a few helpful tips for getting your game improvement started before taking your first swing.
Ryan Crysler, Senior Instructor at Butch Harmon Floridian, recommends focusing on joints that are highly utilised during a round of golf. Shoulder, hip and ankle circles, and even a plank or two are optimal for kick-starting mobility, while a couple of short sprints or 30- to 60-second rounds with a jump rope can fire up eye-hand coordination.
“Power is the combination and ratio of both strength and speed,” Crysler says. “So a guy like Jon Rahm is super strong and fast. But Rahm is not as mobile as a Dustin Johnson who is fast, mobile and strong. So finding personal balance is important.”
According to Erika Larkin, Director of Instruction at The Club at Creighton Farms, the lower body is an often-overlooked power source that needs to be warmed up along with the upper body. Moreover, golfers’ lower bodies are typically tighter.
“I like for my students to wake up their hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors,” Larkin says. “Try some dynamic walking lunges, side step lunges, hip swings and leg crossover toe touches. Establishing pain free movement slow and small, and then building more speed and length as you start to swing your club and hit is the way to go to create flow for the day.”
Need for Speed
Need to keep it simple? Crysler says players pressed for time can simply swing the club faster when practicing at the range, or just warming up, to active the full complement of muscles, joints and tendons. He recommends SuperSpeed Golf’s speed training rods, used by more than 700 professional golfers.
“Many of our players carry the system and a little radar to monitor their progress,” Crysler says. “One game we recently started in a group setting is called ‘Three Strikes.’ Each player incrementally swings a stick faster until they begin to peak. Once they get to 110mph for example, they have three opportunities to get to 111 mph or they lose the match.”
Andrew Rice, Director of Instruction at Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, uses a swing-speed-based warm-up to maximise tee shot distance during his rounds. He says older golfers, especially, under-estimate the number of full swings they need to get properly warmed up.
“I've recently been working on increasing my club speed and have found that as I practice it takes me around 40 full-speed shots before I get myself up to my peak speed,” says Rice. “This has been quite an eye-opener for me. We all know the value of distance and I'd say that a good, solid warm-up goes a long way towards enabling us to hit the ball further from the very first tee shot.”
Arccos Caddie Preview
Arccos Caddie Preview is available to Arccos Members who’ve logged at least five 18-hole rounds with the system. It features hole-by-hole previews with club selection recommendations for every course in the extensive Arccos library or more than 40,000 courses. Crysler incorporates Arccos Caddie Preview with visualisation-based warm-ups for his competitive students.
“We use Caddie Preview to see what tee shot distances and clubs are recommended for the day on par 4s and 5s,” Crysler says. “We get the pin sheets and get the potential yardages and clubs for the par 3s. We rehearse and visualise each tee shot for the day on the practice tee.”
While Crysler’s system is used with high-level professional and amateur golfers, Arccos Members of all playing abilities can use Arccos Caddie Preview to view and visualise as many holes as they want in order to prepare for their next round.