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The Best Way To Warm Up Before Your Round

My golf club is rebuilding its driving range this summer and that means we do not really have anywhere to warm up or practice our full swing for 90 days.  (I live in Las Vegas, so during the summer heat is a good time to do this project.)  We’re going to be able to warm up using some small nets the club will put near the practice tee but that’s it.

The situation made me ask myself just how important it is to warm warm up before a round and what are the best practices for getting your body ready to play.

What I learned researching this question has surprised me.  For example, I have never been to Scotland to play, but my research revealed that most courses there have no driving range.  It wasn’t something they considered creating 100+ years ago when they built on the linksland.  When the Open Championship is held at, say, Royal Troon, they just use the fairway and a green from a nearby golf course as the practice facility.  Day-to-day no one apparently “warms up” as we know it before they play in Scotland.  Many courses don’t even have practice putting areas.

I also learned that Carlos Franco, who is a former PGA Tour rookie-of-the-year, has $10 million in career earnings and has won 25 professional tournaments, including four on the PGA Tour and two on the Seniors Tours, never warms up, ever.  He just hits a few putts and walks down to the first tee.

I must point out that Carlos Franco may not warm up before a round.  But he does practice.  I will write about the difference between practicing (and how to best do it)  and warming in a future article.

So what should you keep in mind when you warm up?  Writing in GOLF, Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs says you should keep your warm up “Short And Sweet”.

“Hitting balls before you play is a warm up.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s an opportunity to get loose, reaffirm a feel and prepare both physically and mentally for the round.  I prefer three to five balls (each) with a wedge, short-iron, mid-iron, hybrid and driver.  That would total somewhere around 20 balls.”

Says Riggs, “To finish the warm up I like to hit a few shots in full routine. This would be the drive and approach to the opening hole and the iron shot on the first par 3.  All told the number is around 25 balls. The putting and short game should also be fairly scripted so you have a very good idea how much time you will need.”

Yes, it’s true that some touring pros spend 60-90 minutes on the range before each competitive round they play.  However, that regimen does not fit well with the lifestyle of a recreational golfer.

Of course, there is more to warming up than hitting those recommended 25 balls, a bit of chipping sand some putting says T.J. McPherson, a certified Titleist Performance Institute trainer.

Ideally, before you make your first swing some stretching is requisite to avoid strains and sprains, particularly when it’s cold outside and/or you have an early morning tee time, McPherson says.

There are many easily-accessed videos about what stretches are best for golfers.  YouTube has many good ones including this 6-minute video by two physical therapists showing three stretches you can do easily and quickly before your first swing.  Visit

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