‘Don’t judge’. How this 20-minute warm up prepares you to shoot low

In today’s Shaving Strokes lesson, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Joe Plecker walks through a 20-minute warm up routine to get loose for your round.

The post ‘Don’t judge’. How this 20-minute warm up prepares you to shoot low appeared first on Golf.

In today’s Shaving Strokes lesson, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Joe Plecker walks through a 20-minute warm up routine to get loose for your round.

The post ‘Don’t judge’. How this 20-minute warm up prepares you to shoot low appeared first on Golf.

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

I’m notorious for showing up late to a tee time, often finding myself rushing to meet my playing partners on the first tee box.

Not only does this add plenty of anxiety before teeing off — making my mind run and my body rush everything — but it also eliminates any chance at warming up.

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We all know that hitting balls to dial in your swing for the day is crucial in order to score low. Yes, practicing the full swing important. But finding your touch on the putting surface is pivotal, too, making sure you get a good sense of how the ball is rolling and the speed of the grass.

But a golf warm up doesn’t necessarily need to be super involved or time-consuming. In fact, by showing up about 20 minutes before teeing off, you can get a full warm up in that covers all your bases — and GOLF Top 100 Teacher Joe Plecker shows how.

Use this 20-minute golf warm up before your next round

Hitting balls before a round is about one thing: Developing good habits for the day.

This is something Plecker often reminds me of during our lesson together, telling me at least three times to avoid judgement of the outcome, and to focus only on swing fundamentals and making good contact.

We start out with the driver.

“The driver is the lightest golf club, but when you swing it fast, it’s the heaviest. So it’s great for getting you activated in full-swing movements.

“We’re not hitting a ball,” he instructs me. “Just take your grip and start moving the big muscles in your golf swing, and start getting that motion that you feel to activate in your swing.”

After getting loose and feeling like I’ve activated some key parts of my body, Plecker has me hit a shot, focusing on nothing other than making good contact.

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“Once you’ve gotten a good stretch from that, I might let you hit a ball, but no outcome, we’re not judging the shot,” he says.

“You’re just getting some contact, making big swings and trying to get your body moving. Focus on your balance and your sequencing; and hit it out there for me.”

Although Plecker told me not to focus on the outcome, my first practice shot of the day resulted in a pinpoint drive that’s dead-center, traveling a healthy 260 yards or so.

A bit surprised with such a positive result, Plecker says that simply loosening up and activating the right muscles allowed me to execute the swing I wanted.

“You had a great first shot, so you might do that a couple of times.”

Next, Plecker has me grab the club that I generally hit 150 yards (which is my 8-iron), and asks me to tee up a ball.

Teeing it up allows for some forgiveness while warming up, with Plecker telling me that many amateurs often hit off a mat or the range grass and try making adjustments after experiencing a bad shot.

But by teeing it up, you can focus on the task: Warming up, not correcting your golf swing or making adjustments.

“Tee it up like you would on a par-3 hole,” Plecker instructs me. “We’re going to find a distance that you want to hit and aim to a target.”

I mishit my shot, topping it and watching it roll a mere 50 yards or so. But Plecker doubles down on ignoring the outcome and to avoid judging the result.

“Again, I like to tell my players; don’t judge,” he calmly responds. “We’re just making some contact here.”

Plecker then talks to me about why aiming for a target about 150 yards is important while warming up.

“150 is a really pivotal number,” he says. “When you’re on the range and just trying to make contact, just find the speed of your golf swing and observe some ball flight.

“There’s not much wind here today impacting your flight, so if you’re warming up and all your iron shots are drawing, guess what we’re playing today? A draw.”

Golf instructor explains simple lesson

Remember this formula from inside 100 yards and you’ll be a better golfer

The next thing Plecker has me do is work on hitting shots from an optimal lie — since there’s no telling what might happen on the course during a round.

After hitting a few off a tee, he now has me work on hitting a stock shot to about 150 yards, using about 90 percent effort.

I hit it about as perfect as I can, drawing praise from Plecker.

“There’s our straight shot [again],” he graciously tells me. “Now you’ve got a birdie putt.”

Plecker next has me focus on shots from within 100 yards, asking me to choose a target and only worry about carry distance.

Embarrassingly, I mishit my first shot, with Plecker repeating the theme for the warm up: “don’t judge.”

“There have been lots of players I’ve coached who have had horrible warm ups, and then have a career round,” he tells me. “I can’t stress enough; you’re trying to get your rhythm, some center contact, the feel for your yardages, and how your ball is flying.”

The warm up then comes back full circle, with Plecker having me pick up my driver in order to practice a routine for the first tee.

“Pick out a wide space [that acts as your fairway,” he gestures. “As you look at that open space, focus on center-face contact, match the pace of your swing, and take this routine with you to the first tee.”

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The post ‘Don’t judge’. How this 20-minute warm up prepares you to shoot low appeared first on Golf.