5 THINGS JUNIOR GOLFERS MUST DO TO IMPROVE THEIR SCORE THIS YEAR
Do you want to play better golf this season? If so, keep reading because I put together 5 simple steps for you do before teeing off your next round. I’m confident that if you follow these steps and do them as part of your pre-round routine it will help you to avoid getting hurt, and more importantly, to get rid of double bogies in the front 9.
1- PLAN AHEAD
I noticed that many juniors I worked with over the years have a similar routine: They get to the course, get the golf bag out, step on the 1st tee and immediately start swinging. It’s hard to resist the excitement of jumping right in and you might have a limited amount of time blocked out to play afterschool. On top of that, you’re counting on your parents’ schedule to get you to the course. I recommend that you sit down with them and share your golf goals for the year. Set a goal together to get out there 20-30 minutes earlier at least one day on the weekend. I believe that your parents will be happy to help you if you have a game plan.
2- DYNAMIC WARM UP
If you’ve been playing for a while you know that playing golf is a combination of your skill set and your ability to move your body on point. I wish someone had clued me in on this when I first started playing sports in middle school. A life time goal for everyone should be to move better whether you’re participating in organized sports or not and movement is going to be an important key in your golf success.
If you’re able to move your upper and lower body properly and simultaneously hold your angles, such as maintaining posture and lower body stability on the back swing, then you’ll be able to develop a consistent swing. When you consistently work on gaining stability with exercises that help to transfer your balance to a still position the result will naturally be a lower score.
As a junior you are more flexible because of your youth. However, you probably have less muscle control especially if you haven’t started strength training. So even if your body is functioning great right now, you want to continue working on golf specific mobility and stability exercises because as you get older you are likely to lose flexibility and strength. One of the major reasons many seasoned players are frustrated is because their game worsens as they get older.
A dynamic warm-up consists of a warm up of muscles that will be used during an activity. Here’s an example of a dynamic warm-up exercise for golf: Lunge with upper body twist: this movement engages your hips, legs, and core muscles. The twist helps to separate the upper and lower body.
3-HOW MANY BALLS SHOULD YOU HIT?
Did you ever notice that when you’re tired your swing changes? Too much practice could actually make your golf swing worse. For example, too many swings can over-work your upper body resulting in swing sequence changes and your lower body turning too fast. These simple things could be could result in things like slicing your driver as you move on to the next tee box.
So how many balls should you hit?
I recommend hitting between 25-40 balls before your round of golf. Depending on your focus that day divide your practice hits between full swing and half swing.
7 full swings each: wedge, mid iron, driver
7 half swing with wedge
4- PRE-SHOT ROUTINE
Practice with a purpose. Don’t just go through the motions.
Every day I see players of all ages at the driving range hitting balls without a purpose. They swing quickly over and over again without thinking. This creates bad habits and doesn’t make them hit the ball any straighter. I suggest you come up with a pre- shot routine that works for you. Choose the right club and hit every shot with a sepcific end in mind.
If you do not have a routine here is one that I recommend for my junior students:
Use your golf club for alignment: Stand straight and place you club across your hips. Many golfers put the club on across their chest and do not realize that their shoulders are turned and are out of alignment with their feet. Do you do this?
Visualize where you want your golf ball to land. Many players I have worked with focus on hitting straighter but they look down at the ball and never look up and out to where they are hitting because they’ve been taught to keep looking down through the swing. Pick a direction and a target and visualize the line you want your ball to go.
Timing between shots is probably the hardest thing manage. Most juniors have the bad habit of hitting as many balls as fast as they can. Make sure to take time between your practice shots to breathe, relax and reset.
5- PRACTICE PUTTING
Getting on the putting green to practice is going to be the easiest of these 5 steps. Most golf courses have putting areas next to the first tee so hopefully this is true for you. Make sure to spend at least 3-5 minutes putting on the practice green. Make putts from uphill, downhill and from different angles.
Keep in mind that throughout the day and the season the speed on the greens will vary. Putting before playing will help to get the feel of how fast the golf ball is rolling and get your putting rhythm set for your front nine.
*BONUS TIP - I highly recommend getting a physical screening with a TPI certified coach. You and your body are unique so a fixed, standard golf training program won’t be tailored to your specific needs.
A TPI screening will identify your exact strengths and weaknesses and allow the coach to create an effective dynamic warm up and overall program that’s right for you.
If you want to make sure you to have a successful golf year, I encourage you to plan out your week. Create a simple schedule, write down, share with your parents, and execute. These 5+ steps will help you to step up on the first tee with your mind and body ready to play your best round.
If you want to learn more about how I work with golfers visit www.PeakPerformanceGolfAcademy.com
For any questions make sure to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org