Fred Couples: How to warm up when you’re crunched for time

fred couples hitting an iron

What's the best way to maximize a quick warm-up before your tee time? We asked Masters champ Fred Couples for advice.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Fred Couples might not always make the best use of his pre-round range time, at least when it comes to casual tee times with friends.

“People say, ‘Well, you are out there an hour before, but you talk for 45 minutes,'” Couples said.

But at least he can admit it.

Couples spoke to at the Berenberg Invitational at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y., earlier this month. Besides offering a tip for the biggest mistake he sees amateurs make, he also explained the best way to maximize a 15-minute warm-up.

Let’s be honest, most amateur golfers aren’t giving themselves the proper time to get ready before a round. Even Couples said most of the guys he usually plays casual rounds have day jobs, so they show up only five minutes or so before their tee times.

Couples says they could be warming up in a much more efficient way.

“They hit two wedges and they go right to the driver,” Couples said. “I would rather them not hit any drivers. Hit clubs that you like. So I warm up with four or five balls with a wedge. Then I go to an 8-iron, then I go to a 6-iron. And now I’m much older so I have all these little rescue woods and I’ll hit four or five drivers. I don’t need 100 balls. I just need to pay attention to kind of get my body to loosen up. But I think a lot of amateurs, they’re behind the eight-ball before they tee off.”

So what’s the takeaway here?

Don’t hit clubs you think you need to hit — like a driver — but instead reach for clubs you like to hit and will get you into a groove. That way you get the benefit of seeing and feeling better contact and that good, positive feedback of a well-struck ball, which can boost your confidence on the way to the first tee.

Your warm-up doesn’t need to be spent just like a Masters champ, but his tactics can help you formulate a better, more efficient one for yourself.

Josh Berhow Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at