If you’re like most New England golfers, your golf clubs are put to bed during the winter. Now it’s time to get back out on the links and pick up where you left off. Your stance may feel awkward, your hands, uncomfortable and balance… unobtainable! This could continue on for 2-3 weeks, even with endless hours of range time. As a golf professional, I can’t afford 3 weeks of “uneasiness” before I can focus on how to improve scoring. Use your “pre-season” golf to reinforce solid fundamentals so the summer months can be primarily for game improvement.
Here’s a checklist:
At least 1 week before going outside, bring an iron inside. Check your grip and get used to holding it again. If you have a grip-training aide, now is the time to use it. Also, notice if your grip(s) needs to be replaced. If they are slippery at all, replace all grips so you feel like you start the year with new clubs.
Address a golf ball next to a full-length mirror. Check your posture. You should see nice, straight lines without much curvature in your back. Check to see if you’re in an athletic, ready position. This means your shoulders are in line with your knees with a slight bend, and your knees are over the balls of your feet. Allow your arms to hang at least a hand-width from your body with your hips pushed back. This may seem awkward at first, but doing this a few times a day, for 5-15 minutes, will take the initial uneasiness and off-balance feeling out of play when it’s time to hit the links!
If you have space to make a few swings, go ahead and work on your setup and your balance during the finish. Visualize your best shots and rounds of golf from seasons past as you re-gain tempo and feel.
Go out and play! Get nice and lose first. Make a few swings on the range for 5-10 minutes. Start out playing only 4 to 9 holes. Play a few holes with your focus being only on grip, setup and a balanced finish. Don’t think of anything but fundamentals. Spending hours at the range during the early part of the season only grooves mistakes.
You’ll now have a solid foundation and will be prepared to work on more swing specifics and short game focus as the season progresses. Ask your golf professional to guide you along your process when you’re ready to go. Enjoy!