I often have players tell me about their recent rounds, and I hear the same type of stories.

It’s some variation of “it took me a few holes to warm up and figure out where it was going.” But after the first few holes, they’ve either figured it out or it never got any better. Of course, my first response is “did you hit any balls before you went out?” Sometimes there is no driving range available to the player. Then what?

In this blog, I will teach you how to warm up and go through a pre-round session.

classroom series

1. Chipping Green

First, if there’s a practice green or short game area, use it.

Hit some basic chips and pitches to easy pin locations and just work on tempo and technique. Once you’re settled in, take one ball and hit some other shots, just like you’re on the course. This will definitely help your feel and confidence, and your short game may be what saves you early til you’re more comfortable in the round.

2. Hit Some Putts

Work on distance control first. Stand in the middle of the green and putt a ball to the fringe in different directions, trying to make your ball stop on the last roll as it touches the fringe. Once you’re feeling good about the distance control, go make some 4 footers. Start with straight, uphill putts and then work your way around the hole, to different types of breaks. Hit some of your putts at different speeds, from slow to firm, then back to slow again. It will be good for your brain and your confidence to see putts going into the hole right before you go to the first tee.

3. Stretch

As you’re nearing your tee time, go through your normal stretching routine (I hope you have one!)

Then, take a short iron and make some swings to loosen up. While doing this, work on your tempo and feel the club brushing the grass and hitting the ground. Pick a spot on the ground and focus on making contact in the right area. Once you’ve warmed up, pick a couple of other clubs through the bag and do the same thing.

4. The Big Clubs

Finally, swing the driver and 3 wood a few times and work on keeping the same tempo and balance that you had with the shorter clubs.

When it’s time to go to the course, make a conservative game plan for the first few holes. If you can tee off with a 3 wood or hybrid and play the first few holes reasonably well, then do so.

Play away from trouble off the tee, if possible, and aim at the center of the green until you’re comfortable and have a rhythm. Be prepared mentally and know that there’s a chance you’ll hit some bad shots early and accept it. If you’ve worked on your short game like mentioned above, trust in your ability to get up and down and save par.

Finally, remember that nobody on the course has hit any range balls right before their tee time, so it’s the same for everyone. Keep a positive attitude about it and prepare before the round with what the course has to offer.