What’s the perfect number of range balls to hit before your round?
Do you have a strict warmup routine? Or are you more of a roll out of the car and onto the 1st tee kind of person? The way we warm up varies from golfer-to-golfer perhaps more than anything else in the game, and so many golfers still don’t understand the best way to do it — or if it actually matters. So, we asked a handful of our GOLF Top 100 Teachers for their advice…
Kevin Weeks: Slowly Build Up To Drivers
While everyone is different, there is a huge difference between a warmup session and a practice session.
In a warmup session you are trying to do just that, prepare your body and mind for the upcoming round of golf. Generally start with some wedges, making small swings and gradually increasing in speed and length as your muscles warm up. Keep this up until you get to your normal length and pace. This should take five to 10 swings, depending on your flexibility. After working up to full, speed hit some mid-to-long irons and lastly, drivers.
I like to see a player hit drivers slow at first then build up the speed gradually. As their confidence grows and they see their desired ball flight they should increase the speed with the drivers hitting them harder and harder. Once warmed up, I think it is to a player’s advantage to “play” the first hole or two on the range, hit the tee shot they want and then the club they expect to hit into the green. Always finishing the warmup session with a well struck shot using the club they will hit off the 1st tee.
Brady Riggs: Keep it 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 with a wedge, short-iron, mid-iron, hybrid and driver. That would total somewhere around 20 balls.
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.
Jonathan Yarwood: Randomize Your Targets
There really isn’t a ‘optimal’ amount of balls to hit before you play. Some players stick to a certain amount on Tour, but not many. The amount of balls you need to hit before you play should be guided by your mindset from an understanding of what a warm up session actually is and what you are trying to accomplish.
A pre-round range session is just a way to warm up the engine, that’s all. So many players judge how they are going to play by how they hit it on the range in warm up. I have seen Tour players flush every shot on the range and skank it on the course and vice versa, so the same applies to the club golfer.
My advice would be to hit three or four balls with your odd-numbered clubs, working through the set, paying little attention to how good or bad they are. Hit some with your routine and vary your targets as that is what you are about to do on the course! Save some balls for short game and putting, and you should be all set. You might want to hit a couple of extra here and there if you need to cling onto a swing thought or feel. So, in summary, be flexible with the amount you hit, understand it is a session to warm up the engine and nothing more. Hit some with your routine and randomize targets to get mentally prepared for what is coming.
Kellie Stenzel: Focus On Solid Contact
While it certainly depends upon the golfer and the situation, I like to see a warm up include covering all shots the golfer may face as well as the “families” of clubs. When playing a course other than your own, time on the putting green is a must to get a sense of the speed of the greens.
Warm up on the range should include some pitch shots to warm up until there is success in contact: 3-10 shots and possibly some distance control. I also like to see success with each “family” of club, including short iron, mid to long iron, hybrid, fairway wood and driver for three to seven shots. I also like to see a few chip shots either on the range or next to the putting green. The goal is to have had some success in contact prior to getting to the course to build confidence and avoid overthinking. Areas of lesser confidence may need a few extra balls to create positive feedback.
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