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JMiller

Improving the "warm-up" holes when coming out "cold"

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I completely recommend coming to the course early hitting some putts, chips, pitches, full shots in the practice areas before you tee off, but there are some situations where time is limited and you have to go from the parking lot straight to the tee.

 

For me I tend to start a range practice session with 1/4 wedges, 1/2 short irons, 3/4 mid irons, full swings on a 4w / driver. So when I can't come out and hit a few balls I have to find my tempo and get my muscles lose on the course.

 

My routine when I have to go form the parking lot to the first tee:

1) Stretch my body some (lower back, arms, legs, abs)

2) Swing two wedges together (my 60* and 54* the heaviest two in my bag) at 40 and 60% speed to get a tempo feel for the day.

3) Take out my 4w and swing it through the rough trying to get a feel of the face at impact due to the resistance of the grass.

 

 

So the process I do on the first 3 to 5 holes of actually playing:

1) Slowly work into my normal tempo at full length. My first tee shot is a 3/4 length swing and a lot of times as smooth as I can make it.

>> I take one extra club (4w over a 19* hybrid), choke down a little, swing 3/4 in length and focus on a very smooth tempo (about 75% my normal tempo speed). This will give me the same distance as a full 19* would when warmed up, but gain me control and let me blend into my round better.

--> You can do this with a Driver even if that's the club you normally hit off the first tee at your course. Just make sure to understand you are after control not distance trying to get a feel for tempo.

 

2) On the approach I use the same concept hopefully with the above tactic I'm playing form the short grass.

>> When doing this just remember that taking extra club and swinging at 3/4 will produce less spin, so play for more roll out.

--> This strategy is great for middle to back pins, land it a little short and let it release back to the pin. I employ it a lot in my rounds even when I warm-up.

 

3) About the 4th tee I am able to feel physically loose enough to swing full, so I will increase the length of my swing while still focusing on a smooth tempo.

>> Now you might be swinging full length but your tempo is around 80% or 90% of a typical tempo so you might only carry the ball 5-10 yards shorter then normal. Most people might even find that they score better with this strategy as they already swing too hard at the ball.

--> Whatever the case, this is your last step getting into the flow of the round.

 

4) By the time you get to the 6th tee you should be 100% ready to go with a nice tempo built into the round and a flow.

>> You don't need to swing out of your shoes at this point that is also a bad idea, but if you have a tempo and swing length that gives you typical good results then go ahead and employ it if the situation calls for it.

--> For example on a front pin, I will tend to take a full swing club that carries to the pin and make a good solid release, up to this point I haven't done that playing for middle of the green while getting loose.

 

I developed the above approach from playing at my old home course where i had no range plan. I didn't want to pay for balls that I'd only hit 15 out of 35 for $5. So I had to figure out a way to make pars in the first 3 holes and get into my rounds smoothly. For me I always found that if I had a blow up hole coming out cold it was ALWAYS in the first 3 to 5 holes.

 

 

 

If you don't have a strategy for coming out cold, why not give my approach a try? Let me know what you changed if anything, let me know if it worked or didn't work for you. If you do have a strategy, then what is it maybe others can benefit from more perspectives.

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I need to do this.  I kept my stats for (most) of my rounds this year.  It showed me two things, I need to practice putting and I need to get to the course to warm up; my average was +4.9 on the front and +2.5 on the back.  I'm going to take that farther this season and make note of when I can and can't warm up, to see if that is actually the difference or if I just stink out of the gate. I'd also like to test this on a launch monitor, because I know my speed and distance suffer for a few holes when I can't get warmed up.

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My caveman style approach to loosening up when I have to tee off without stretching or hitting balls is to just swing my driver back and forth continuously for 20-30 seconds on each of the first few tee boxes. I start off slow then build up to where I'm swinging it as hard as I can. The first day I did it I birdied 3 of the first 4 holes. Now it's more superstition than anything.

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I need to do this as well. Most of the time when I play, I don't have time to warm up so I should practice this and see if it helps. Maybe I will be able to give it a try this Monday.

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I know that a lot of people here just don't have time for one reason or another. I figured it would be a nice topic of conversation for anyone not in snow / ice or anyone that takes a winter golf trip to escape the snow and is pressed for time.

 

Most of this developed over the last 3 years, simply because I'm getting older and can't go 100% out of the gate like I used to back in college.

~ I wanted to come up with something that was legal mid-round in a tournament if there happened to be a long wait time and I felt myself getting a little stiff.

 

Stretching out my arms, legs, back, wrists, etc quickly before I make a single swing started in 2012 as I started getting older I felt stiffer after sitting in my desk chair all day.

--> If someone wants exact details I can give that also.

 

Swinging my two heaviest wedges held together started back in college, I never had an artificial weight to toss on a fairway wood or driver.

--> This is legal to do mid-round where using an artificial weight mid-round it will get you a DQ from the tournament.

 

Swinging a fairway wood through the rough came from reading one of the vision54 books early 2014

--> It was talking about there warm-up routines if only given 5 minutes to practice, I think it was in the book "The game before the game".

 

Swinging the club at 3/4 and 70-80% tempo was developed by experimentation form 2012 to 2014

~ It was me reflecting on my 9 hole rounds and noticing a pattern. I realized that most my bogeys or worse were in the first 5 holes, I would attempt to do too much and try to get too much out of a club (not a good thing anytime, but especially bad when coming out cold). So when I started using extra club, playing for the middle the the green on front pins and leaving my scoring chances to the back pins in the first 5 holes it lowered my scores a lot.

--> I would probably shoot 39-42 coming out cold on a par 36, with a 36 being my best on a good day. Then I changed strategy to take it more easy first 4 or 5 holes and then adjust based on how I felt about my striking and game on the 5th or 6th hole. I lowered my scoring to 36-39 (3 strokes) and on a good day have some scores of 34 or 35.

 

Using the 3/4 swing method into greens, things to understand:

~ The ball will come out lower and with less spin.

--> Carry the ball front green to a middle pin location

--> Carry the ball middle green to a back pin location

--> Worst case a front pin you end up middle green and make a two putt par. Easier par then getting up and down short sided.

 

So lets assume that you get to the 6th tee box and you are still not feeling 100% about your control of your full swing. I just limp my 3/4 swing from holes 6 through 9 and then just call it a day when I am done. It can't hurt to keep going with the concept if it is working on 10 through 18 if you happen to be playing a full 18 holes and coming out cold.

 

 

 

Good luck, I hope this might help someone with course management as well as getting warmed up within 5 or 10 minutes before the tee time.

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I suspect far too many of us don't warm up with a consistent routine (I know I don't), but it's obviously something we need to make a habit of.  It's not even a matter of time, for many of us, as many of the 9-hole community courses around my area don't even have practice areas available.  This past year, I've tried to get to the closest range to get some practice in before driving to play any of the courses that don't have practice areas, and that's helped, but a consistent warm up routine would be better.

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The first thing I do when I get to the course is take a Lortab.

 

I don't spend much if any time on a driving range, even on a course that I am not familiar with. I used to do that, but I found that I would say: 'Oh that's a good shot, I should have saved that one for the course." At my age I feel that I waste good shots on the range, and the last 4-5 holes suffer.

 

If my wife and I travel to a course and need to hit a few balls before we play, we will get a small bucket of balls. Sometimes the course might have free range balls, and I have to mentally tell myself that I don't need to hit very many. I will hit only a few with an iron to get the feel of turf interaction, and a couple of drivers. My swing never gets past 3/4 anyway. :)

 

I certainly have a stretch routine before I hit any balls or get to the first tee, and I spend quite a bit of time on the practice green putting and chipping because I expect to do that a lot on longer courses. Not many courses have practice bunkers, but if they do, I will hit a few shots to see what the sand is like.

 

As far as on the course, I continue my warmup stretches as much as possible for the entire round, and I always take practice swings while waiting, but nothing more than MY 3/4 swing. I don't want to put my body into shock!

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All very good and practical things to do before teeing off.  My only other contribution is to have a beer or two before tee off, helps to loosen up some as well :)

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All very good and practical things to do before teeing off.  My only other contribution is to have a beer or two before tee off, helps to loosen up some as well :)

I wait and see what the round looks like on the first nine holes. If not going so well, then I'm looking for the cart girl or buying beer at the turn. If I'm doing OK, I will wait until #14 or 15 to make that decision. I would like to say that I wait until the 19th hole... but I can't.

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Man, if I don't take some range swings before I go out, I'm crap for about 4 holes.   My first tee drives are short and bad, and I'll chunk or top the irons.   But on the plus side, I only need 20-30 balls on the range before the sinews are stretched and I'm good to go.  I'll hit 6-8 drives, 6-8 long to mid irons at a minimum and then I'm comfortable.   This is where being a ball hawker pays off.   I've always got 50+ shag balls in my bag at all times that I can donate back to the range in support of my warm up routine.

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It was only at my old club that I was using the suggestion I have for a 5minute straight to the tee box warm-up type of thing. My new club I have  a range plan per year so my value is better to get a bucket and not worry about hitting 10-15 out of 30 balls. The shag bag idea isn't bad but if you play 9 holes 5 days a week and hit 10 balls a day out of your shag bag you will blow threw those 50-60 balls fast.

 

Given I walk 99% of my rounds that I play and I play 9 holes M-F and at least one 18 on the weekends, drinking alcohol would be a bad idea. I could see myself getting super dehydrated and passing out during the summer.

 

Not everyone has a lot of money to toss around, so I am going for long term cost effective in my suggestions :D

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