The Process Starts Long Before You Arrive at the Golf Course
Do you ever rush to the course for an “Emergency 9” only to find you’re rushing through the 9-holes and nothing is going right? Or thought you’re practice time the night before the round was not necessarily the right idea? Or, you did not realize there’s rain in the forecast as you made your way to the course? If these and other similar circumstances sound familiar, chances are you’re not preparing to play a golf shot, any golf shot, with your best interest in mind. Let’s explore why preparing to play a golf shot long before you arrive at the course is an essential part of any round of golf you play.
Preparing to Play a Golf Shot Starts Before You Leave the House or Office
Thinking about playing after work or over the weekend is great. Anticipating the experience is even better. But are you
actually preparing to play a golf shot within either round? Chances are the answer is no. You probably didn’t plan for traffic snarls, finding a parking spot, or other items you have no control over. With each new variable you didn’t plan for comes more time wasted. In turn, you’ll probably be delayed making your tee time. And you’ll lose most of all of the time you need to warm up. Furthermore, if you’re someone who receives speeding tickets while driving the 10-minute drive to the course, then you’re probably someone who doesn’t plan to play.
The time you spend traveling to the course actually is the precursor of great tempo and and timing on the course. The more you rush, the more likely you’ll rush to the 1st tee. The more ill-prepared for circumstances beyond your control on the way to the course, the more you’re ill-prepared you’ll handle the adversity you’ll face on the course.
How do you prepare before your round?
Preparing to play a golf shot starts with properly mapping out your day. Leave in plenty of time to get to the course on time to go through what you believe to be your best warm up. It’s always better to be a little early than running up to the tee to prevent being late. If you find you’re doing the later, be sure to breath deep more than a few times. Suggestion – do so as you make your way to the tee. And do so before, during, and after you take the first club out of your bag. Oxygenating your body can slow you down and put you back into a tempo you feel more comfortable with before you make your first swing.
Preparing to Play a Golf Shot includes How you Practice
Most golfers fail to use any pre-shot routine when they practice or warm up. Yet, they do use a pre-shot routine on the course. Are you someone who can hit a basket of 75 balls in less than 15-minutes? But you wonder why it takes so long to play? And, wonder why your scores don’t reflect the time you put into practice?
If you’re serious about shooting lower scores, then you have to get serious about the amount of time you spend between the shots you hit during any practice session. I’m often asked how do I take the great shots I hit at practice to the course, thinking this is a one-way street. I always answer that question by stating this is a cyclical game. What you do well at the course needs to be a part of your practice sessions,and vise versa. The main ingredients are your pre-shot routine and the time spent in between each shot.
How do you prepare to create tempo?
Creating one tempo at practice by “raking and hitting” will not replicate the same tempo you experience on the course. There is at least a 60-90 second gap of time between all shots as you play, if not more. During that time you’re riding in a cart conversing. You’re thinking about the shot you just hit as well as the shot you need to hit next. Why not take some time between shots to evaluate the shot you just hit? Or, take more time setting the next shot up? Why not go through a pre-shot routine that perfectly replicates the one you use during a round, with every practice shot you hit?
All these items help recreate the tempo you are accustom to on the course. In turn, this type of practice reduces the stress factors of rushing through shots due to lack of a consistent pre-shot routine that takes into affect real time conditions.
Clubs and Balls are only part of the Equipment List
In the middle of your round it starts to rain. Your glove gets soaked and you can’t hold the club without strangling it. You reach into your bag for another glove only to realize there are none.
I’ve witnessed many golfers over the years who are ill-prepared to deal with a circumstance beyond their control. Lack of essentials such as not enough balls and gloves are inexcusable, unless you regularly play without a glove. Other extras such as spikes, tees, ball markers, divot repair tools, and sunscreen can delay a round if you’re continually searching for these items. The lack of an umbrella or rainsuit can make life miserable on the course. Did you do your homework about a course you’ve never played? You’ll be ill-prepared to withstand the stresses of the round if your equipment does not match the new conditions.
How do you better prepare you and your equipment?
Preparing to play a golf shot includes always having the extras in your bag. With the exception of golf balls, having extra tees, ball markers, gloves, divot repair tools, sunscreen, spikes, shoelaces, and other peripheral items in the bag adds very little additional weight, and in turn will come in handy some day. Having the umbrella in the trunk is an easy checklist item to accomplish. And having wedges or hybrids in the trunk that accomplish different types of tasks on the course could save you a few strokes.
Preparing to play a golf shot before you arrive at the golf course is easy to accomplish and only takes a few minutes. Preparing prior to arrival will inevitably provide you the extra few minutes or seconds you need to feel more comfortable. Whether it be a last minute request or a pre-scheduled tee time, the various ways you’re preparing to play a golf shot can make a significant difference. As a result, your scores should decrease and your and enjoyment of the game will definitely increase.