Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters, Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship, and Jon Rahm took home the title at the U.S. Open, so when are you going to tee it up at the majors? Okay, maybe that’s a pipe dream for now, especially if you’re recovering from an injury or haven’t hit the driving range in some time. However, there are a few things you can do to get back to better golf and feel like you’re pursuing the Green Jacket at your home course.
Getting back into any game or habit can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. If you’re feeling a lack of motivation or finding yourself in a rut, the following tips might be useful for getting you back to golfing:
There are a lot of health benefits to the game of golf, but without proper stretching and exercise, golfers can put themselves at risk of injury. The proper warmup is key; this involves getting in a light walk to boost your heart rate before focusing on stretches that impact your neck, shoulders, torso, and waist. Don’t hesitate to back away and continue these stretches through your round on the golf course, as it will save you some pain later. If the pain is significant, halt play immediately to avoid greater damage.
In the event that an injury requires the need for prescription medications, be sure to follow through on medical treatment as laid out by your healthcare provider. Websites like USA Rx (www.usarx.com) offer price comparisons that let patients find their medication at a fraction of the cost. The truth is the price you pay at your pharmacist could actually be less at a different pharmacy or through the use of coupons. Discounted drugs are also available by looking into generic options of name-brand prescription medication.
Easing Back into Things
If you haven’t been on the golf course in some time, don’t go rushing into a competition. One of the easiest ways to injure yourself is to go full throttle after dropping a green fee, so it’s best to take things slow. Try heading to the driving range and working on your full swing, making adjustments accordingly to keep your golf skills in tune without sacrificing any kind of muscle pain. If you truly want to get a better grip on your golf game, consider private lessons.
Clinics are able at most public golf courses, country clubs, and driving ranges. Some even offer up a junior golf clinic for aspiring young golfers to learn the ins and outs of the game from golf etiquette to perfecting their bunker play. This builds confidence in golfers over time to feel ready for contests on the links. It will also help pinpoint areas of improvement as well as areas which need more practice in order to better your overall game.
Also, give consideration to the golf clubs that you are using at the moment. A junior golfer especially may grow out of a set of clubs; finding themselves hunching over too much to drive or putt. This will eventually lead to muscle irritation and other health issues. The resulting poor form will adversely influence your game even if you were skilled at it before. Have a professional or experienced player assess your form while you’re playing and ask them for advice on whether to upgrade your golf clubs or not.
Assessing Your Game
If you’re feeling ready to go 18 holes, or even just nine, make sure you are at your best in every aspect of the game. Some golfers have a better short game than others, and some golfers thrive from the tee. It’s best to take an assessment of where your weak points lie and to make tweaks, especially if you’re a beginner to avoid any bad habits out on the links. Get on the course with the intention of enjoying yourself. Going in with the feeling that you’re going to birdie every hole messes with your mental health, and takes away from your time on the golf course.
Manage Your Own Expectations
If you’ve arriving at the golf course after some time, it’s not realistic to expect that you will play as well as before. This is why it’s important to stay grounded, keep your cool, and deal with your bad shots as gracefully as possible. Keep in mind that ball control won’t be the same; to counteract this, pick your targets wisely and avoid the hazards on the course. It may also help to play less aggressively than you are used to; this way, you will hopefully get a higher number at the end of the day.
Consciously Loosen Your Grip
When your grip is too tight, it indicates that you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally tensed as well. This isn’t good for your game and can mean a less stellar performance than if you relax and take a few moments to re-center before continuing.
If you have to, work on consciously loosening your grip each time you have to take a swing. Ask yourself whether you’re squeezing too hard; your grip should be just enough to maintain a firm control. Plus, relax your shoulders before taking a swing; you may have to work on these practices deliberately the first few times. After that, they will hopefully become routine.
If you haven’t played golf in a while, recognize that it will take some time to wear off the rust and find your touch again. The COVID-19 pandemic kept all golfers off the greens for a while, and even when courses reopened, there were limited tee times to go around. Have fun and don’t be afraid to recognize your faults. They can be fixed with a few little interventions!