My Golf Instructor

Pre-Round Warm Up
Getting Your Body and Brain Ready to Perform

Whether it's poking a voodoo doll, saying 3 Hail Mary's, or doing back flips like Ozzy Smith, all great athletes have their own unique way to warm up for action. They are trying to get their brain pumped up for peak performance and focus, as well as make sure their bodies are loose and stable to prevent injury. In golf, I believe a good warm up is for your mind as well as for your body.

A Proper Warm Up Focuses Your Mind and Prepares Your Body

Warm Up properly both physically and mentally before playing golfA Proper Warm Up is Important

During the warm up as blood flow and oxygen increase, it is a great time to relax your mind and focus on your game plan. Long slow deep breaths can help you stay calm, but yet alert to the task at hand. Rushing to the tee has never done anyone good. Quick breathing and a scattered mind only set you up for scattered play. Being able to key down, think about your goals and put yourself in a positive frame of mind is paramount to peak performance. Physically, a warm up is an absolute necessity as probably 99% of students are aware. Yet, very few students warm up or warm up properly. If I only had a dollar for every student I saw walk up to the practice tee before a lesson, take out their driver and start swinging. Not only is that the wrong club to start with, they aren't doing anything to prepare their body or mind to swing it with success.

Warming up properly has the following benefits for your body:

  • Injury prevention
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased blood flow and body temperatures
  • Decreased Stiffness
  • Muscles are more elastic, forceful and relaxed
  • Increased speed
  • Improved range of motion

3 Stages to a Proper Warm Up Routine

The stages of a warm up should include:

1) Warm up phase

This is a brief cardio warm up to get your heart rate, body temp and circulation increasing. It would typically consist of a walk, short bike ride or calisthenics. While some things are not practical at a driving range you could do a little jogging in place or some jumping jacks.

2) Stretching Phase

This is a 5-10 minute stretching series to warm muscles and loosen joints. These golf specific stretches should be held for 20 seconds each.

3) Dynamic Warm up Phase

This is to get the blood flowing and once again increase heart rate and body temperature. For golf, arm circles, helicopter lunges and practice swings fall into this category.

Don't forget that proper nutrition and hydration should also be part of your warm up routine. You need to start eating and drinking well before you hit that first shot. After the round a post stretch is always a good idea. Recent research is finding that post activity stretching provides the greatest increase in flexibility.

How long will all of this take? The average warm up before a round for a competitive player is typically around an hour which includes hitting balls. I recommend a physical warm up of 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes at the range and 20 minutes at the practice green. If you are not a competitive player, but more a social golfer and are short on time, if anything, protect your body and get in the right frame of mind before you play by at least completing a physical warm up. You can do that and roll a few putts in a matter of 15-20 minutes.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
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