The day has finally arrived. After 200 days (yes, that number is correct), I am hitting the links! The long, cold off-season is over and at 2 pm today I am teeing it up with my friends Blair and Rick. Our course has 9 holes open because of the wet front nine and this will be a perfect start for me. Of course I am not planning to just show up at the course and play because that is how injuries happen after such a long lay off,. So, here is what I am thinking.
Before I outline my plan, it is important to note that I have not hit the practice range yet because I was away on vacation. I arrived home on Wednesday and have finally finished all my running around so that I can focus on golf.
At around noon, I am planning to hit the local driving range. As my course has not practice area except a putting green, I will have to go else where to warm up. This is a known limitation to my home course, but one I can live with.
When I arrive at the practice range, I am going to hit a large bucket of balls. You may think this a bit odd, but I will need about 80 balls to complete what I have planned. My thought is to use the system of 5 to warm up entire body and to awaken the muscles that have been dominant for 200 days.
First, I am going to grab my favorite club at take about 5 knee height swings, 5 from the waist, 5 from the 3/4 position and finally 5 full swings. The intent for the first 20 golf balls is just to swing the club.
I follow the same sequence for my next club which will be my 3 hybrid. After 40 golf balls, my body will start to remember what golf is all about and I will slowly become more flexible.
The next 20 golf balls will be with my gap wedge. It is important to focus some time on this scoring club (and all the wedges actually) because I expect I will be using it today.
The last 20 balls will be in sets of two. I will take full swings with all my remaining clubs starting with my lob wedge and working towards my driver. These swings are full, but not at full power. I will try to expand my range of motion throughout all the swings to make sure that when I hit the links, I can swing the club with control.
After hitting a bucket of balls, I will head to my course. My intent is to chip and putt for 30 minutes before walking to the first tee. I will mix up clubs for chipping, putt mostly within 10 feet of a hole, and work on hitting my intended line with all clubs.
After my short game practice, I will be ready to hit the links. The intent for my warm up is not to work on my game or to improve any of the 100 things I thought about over the off-season, but to warm up my body to get ready to play golf. My expectations today is to get out on the links and be grateful that the season has started.
There will be plenty of time to work on my game in the coming weeks and months. For now, it is time to breath in the fresh air and be mindful of my surroundings.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links, today!