Most good golfers will perform a good warm up, but even I myself have been guilty of just picking the 7 iron up and beating balls on the range. However, if it were to be a tournament day, I would approach a warm up very specifically. In reality, your tournament days and practice days should be as similar as possible, in order for you to stay within the same routine. Here, I will discuss a brief outline for a warm up session. It’s not amazingly special in any way, I just feel it is an important aspect to go through, as it will fit in with other areas I talk about at later dates. I made a lot of mistakes during my career – not warming up and getting injuries, or warming up so much I would be fatigued for the event - as a kid I would try and get an afternoon tee time for competitions, and spend the entire morning warming up.
So what is the goal of the warm up? I would say that the actual warm up itself should not be there to hit your best shots. It should serve more of the following functions;
- Get blood flowing to the muscles
- Warm up the joints
- Decrease risk of injury
- Find your rhythm
- Find your balance
- Find your strike
- Note your shot pattern
The physical warm up
It is not a time to start changing your swing or working on anything technical – you should warm up before you do anything like that. Your co-ordination will not be good enough pre-warm up to be changing anything dramatically – which could lead to frustration and a lost practice session (See THIS article). Besides, before a tournament or playing a round of golf, I wouldn't recommend changing your swing or tinkering with technique too much.
So what should you do during this warm up? Here is an example of mine
- 3 sets of 10 squats
- 3 sets of 10 arm circles, both directions
- Body rotations (literally just turning your torso back and through)
- Wrist circles
- I then do a little extra warming up for any injured areas I have had in the past
- Swing a golf club both left and right handed for 1 minute, back and forth
- Get 2 clubs together and swing them back and forth for a minute
The hitting warm up
Now I am ready to hit balls. But, woah, hold on! Put that driver away buddy. You have to understand, even the best players in the world can’t just get a driver out and start ripping it down the middle. Here is how my hitting warm up looks like
- 10 shots with a sand wedge, starting with a 30 yard pitch and working up to 80% power
- 5 shots with a 9 iron, gradually getting up to 90% power
- 5 shots with a 7 iron
- 4 shots with a 4 iron
- 4 shots with a driver
- If I have any balls left over, I go back to the 7 iron and hit a few more.
Put that driver away buddy, have you warmed up yet?
The goals of this are simply to note where the ball is coming from off the clubface, notice what shot shape wants to come out today, and try to get a simple swing thought or rhythm going which you can take on the course.
Take home notes
If you are warming up – do so. Don’t get upset if you get to the range and pull out your driver and start spraying it all over the place without any warm up like the above – you deserve it. Even the top players can’t boom straight drives if they haven’t got into the ‘swing’ of things, and you are putting your body at greater risk of injury also. A warm up has a simple purpose, leave it at that. Only AFTER you have warmed up should you think about making any swing changes, and almost NEVER before a tournament.