Anyone who’s watched the PGA Tour has likely seen the pros do a significant amount of warming up before rounds. It’s essential to perform at your best and prevent strains or injuries while you’re on the course. But what exactly should you do to warm up? That part can seem a bit more confusing.
In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at how the pros warm up before rounds. By the end, you should have a good idea of how to properly plan your warm-up routine. Let’s get started.
Before getting into specific strategies, you’ll want to know how long you should warm up before a round. Looking at the PGA pro’s routines, they typically range from about 30 to 90 minutes.
On the high end, you’ll see some of the top-level golfers that really value practice. Namely, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth will warm up for about 90 minutes before a round. They don’t move at a super fast pace. It’s simply a slow, conscious effort to get into an optimal mental and physical state to play.
In the mid-range, pros like Brooks Koepka warm up for about 45 to 60 minutes before a round. Brooks has been noted saying that he doesn’t like complex warm-ups. He feels like some simple stretching and basic practice shots on the range are more than enough. There have even been times when he didn’t hit practice shots and only focused on stretching.
On the low end, you have pros like Dustin Johnson, who only warm up for 30 minutes. Dustin feels like he only needs a very brief and basic routine to be ready for a round of golf.
Seeing such a disparity here between different pros can make picking the right amount of warm-up time feel confusing.
Ultimately, the amount of time you warm up depends on what you respond to best. A good starting point is in the middle, warming up 45 to 60 minutes before a round. Then, mix it up. Go a bit longer some days or shorter other days and see how you do.
The most important thing is, if you find something that works, stick to it. Being both mentally and physically prepared is important for golf. Warming up the same way every time will get you into a good routine that leads to success.
Now let’s review some specific strategies and techniques the pros use to warm up.
Every pro makes sure to stretch thoroughly before a round. Your stretches don’t have to be too intensive, but they should get you loose so you can get enough rotation and proper form on your swings.
A simple 4-step mobility routine you can do is:
After completing this, you should feel looser and ready to start getting some regular golf swings in.
When you look at the pros’ warm-up routines, there are a couple of things nearly all of them have in common. They start with putting and spend about half their time warming up on the putting green.
The short game is pretty crucial to any golfer’s success out on the course. It’s the common spot where many of us can take some strokes off our scores. That means practicing putting, and other short-game elements like chipping will make a big difference.
It’s also a good way to get a feel for the speed of the greens. For instance, if it rained recently, the greens will be slower. On the other hand, if it’s been dry for a while, the greens will be faster.
Tiger Woods is known for putting a lot of effort into his putting game. He likes to focus many of his practice putts from 6 feet and closer on the putting green. In addition, he has the unique strategy of starting his warm-up putts using only one hand to get a better feel for the club and how the ball is rolling on the green that day.
Brooks Koepka is on the opposite end of things with putting compared to Tiger. He says he likes to take more of a randomized approach to warming up here. He simply throws some balls down on the putting green and starts from wherever they land. It isn’t a bad strategy since you will likely face many different putts and angles on the course.
Another strategy most pros use is working their way up the bag. After putting, most pros will go to the range and start with the shorter clubs like their wedges. They’ll start with short, lofted shots and begin working up to a full swing.
After they’re hitting solidly with wedges, they’ll work their way up the bag to the 9 iron, 8 iron, 7 iron, etc., all the way up to the driver.
This is a good strategy since the shorter clubs require less energy when hitting. It’s a good way to start slow and build up as you go.
In addition to working your way up the bag, many pros recommend spending more time focusing on the irons. Warming up with your drivers can be fun, but it uses up a lot of energy that’s better spent out on the course.
Jordan Spieth likes to take a very focused approach here. He’ll start very slow with the irons, taking 20-yard shots and moving up in distance and to different clubs as he feels ready. Then, once he gets to the drivers, he’ll aim for 5-10 really solid shots. That’s all he feels like he needs to hit some great drives out on the course. Many other pros approach it in the same way.
It can be common to get out on the range and think about wanting to hit the ball as far as possible. However, that doesn’t help prepare for what you’ll need to do when you get out on the course.
Instead, hit with intention. Take your time on each shot. Aim for different parts of the range and try to control the amount of distance. That’ll help you get ready to hit with accuracy and distance once you tee off.
When you look at pro warm-up routines, you’ll consistently realize they don’t overcomplicate things. Your warm-up is different than golf practice drills, where you’re trying to improve and push past your limits. Instead, your warm-up should keep you relaxed and ready to have a great day of golf.
That’s it for this one. You should now have a better idea of how the pros warm up before rounds and the best strategies you can implement for your own game.
Ultimately, warming up depends on what feels best for you. It doesn’t have to be something you overcomplicate or get stressed about. Try these techniques and see how you feel when doing them. And most importantly, enjoy your time out on the course.
Good luck out there!