A very common mistake many golfers make is they do not warm up before they begin playing. Not only does this increase the risk of injury to your body, but it also decreases your ability to make a full, powerful swing.
A pre-golfing, warm up routine does not have to be elaborate and it does not have to take more than a few minutes. The key is to ensure you work your core muscles and your joints before you start swinging your clubs.
Here is a quick and easy way to get warmed-up for your round of golf:
- Lift your arms straight out to your sides.
- Begin moving your hands and arms in tiny circles.
- Slowly increase the size of the circles.
- Continue for twenty seconds, and then reverse direction.
- Do two sets in each direction (forward and reverse).
Upper Body Extension
- Hold a club in both hands with hands at shoulder width and feet apart at shoulder width.
- Inhale slowly and at the same time move the club over your head and hold it there, steady, for a five-count.
- Exhale and bring the club down to your waist.
- Repeat five times.
- Continue to hold club as above, with feet apart, shoulder width.
- Bring the club to an overhead position and then slowly bend to right side. Hold for five-count, straighten, and bend to left side.
- Repeat four times on each side.
- Put a long club along your shoulders, behind your head.
- Place your hands on each end of the club.
- Spread your feet as you would at address, bend slightly as you would at address.
- Slowly rotate your torso as if performing backswing. At top, slowly rotate back to starting position, and continue forward, as if performing follow-through.
- Repeat eight to ten times.
Lower Back and Hamstring Stretch
- Hold club in both hands.
- Bend your upper body at the waist and let arms hang in front of you.
- Slowly move the club lower in order to stretch hamstrings.
- Return to standing position.
- Repeat ten times.
- Hold club in front of body, using both hands.
- Slowly begin a squat movement using only the knees.
- Your upper body should be erect and still.
- Hold for five-count and stand up.
- Repeat five times.
Performing these simple exercises will get your body relaxed and the blood flowing. Try them the next time you go out and see if your swing does not improve immediately!
How to Reduce Golf Nerves
We all know that there are physical and mechanical problems we can encounter that will result in missed shots. But, many golfers also suffer from emotional issues or “golf nerves” at times. This can be just as devastating to a good swing as an improper set up at address.
It should be noted that all players have a certain amount of nervousness or anxiety from time to time. This is normal and, in fact, necessary in competitive sports. So, the idea that one can be totally free of nervousness is really not an option.
The key to overcoming golf nerves is to learn to play with them and to not allow them to control your actions.
How do we do that?
This may sound like an over-simplification but practice and confidence are key elements to beating golf nerves.
When I say practice, I am targeting that word directly toward technique. The more time you put into practicing your various golf shots, the more comfortable you will be when it is time to perform those same shots on the course. This means honing your technique.
A wonderful thing happens when we practice on a regular basis. Our muscles will begin to “remember” what actions they need to perform in any given situation, for any given shot. This process is referred to as “memory muscles” and you will often see this term in golf articles and instruction materials.
When you practice good, solid golfing fundamentals, those same fundamentals become so ingrained that they become second nature. As you begin to see positive results, your confidence level will improve.
Once you have prepared your body through practice, and your confidence level is on the rise, you can begin dealing with your golf nerves.
When you feel yourself becoming overly nervous or anxious, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you CAN make this shot. You have already done it and there is no reason you cannot do it again, right here, right now.
Trusting your swing is the next key to overcoming golf nerves. Allow your body to remain relaxed, and to do what you have trained it to do. Trusting your swing is based on all that practice you did! Let it work for you now. Let your memory muscles do what they were trained to do.
If you have a pre-shot routine, and you need to have one, go through it and narrow your thoughts to this shot only. Jettison every other thought and concentrate on this one shot.
An important cure for golf nerves is to realize that nervousness and anxiety often cause tension and tight muscles. Tight muscles are shot-killers. This is true for any level of golfer, pro to novice. A strange thing about tension is that we often do not even realize we are tense. This can be especially true if the adrenaline is flowing.
A good habit to get into for those suffering from golf nerves is to, literally, shake it off. As you approach your ball, give your arms a good shake, flex your neck from side to side, and rotate your shoulder muscles.
A few deep breaths will also help to relax tight muscles and has the added benefit of oxygenating your brain and blood cells.
Only after you have loosened up your muscles should you begin your stance.
This is where your confidence comes into play. Step up to the ball, take a deep breath, and execute the swing. It will work, if you have prepared yourself and you allow it to happen.