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Golf Warm Up Routine [A Pro’s Guide]

We all know that the first few holes of golf can set the tone for the rest of the round – for better or for worse. A great golf warm up routine ensures you make the most of your golfing ability on any given day. It also gives you a solid structure and process to keep you focused when you have a big game ahead of you.

In this article we’ll cover a great golf practice routine – you can tailor it to suit your needs and facilities, but spend time making it work for you. This process is such a simple way to knock one to three shots off your score.

Golf warm up stretches [2 minutes]

The first stage is to get your body loose and blood flowing round to those golfing muscles. You have three main points of rotation in your golf swing – your two hips and your thoracic spine. Your shoulders also go through a wide range of motions.

Below is a 2 minute video that targets these areas with three simple dynamic golf stretches.

Also, check out this link to learn more about golf fitness.

Golf warm up driving range [15 minutes]

Next we want to warm up our swing and work out where that little white golf ball is heading today. Here is my approach – again, tailor it to suit your needs.

  • 5 balls PW – no target, just getting warm with pitching swings
  • 5 balls PW – aim to hit the 100 yard sign
  • 5 balls 8-iron – aim to hit the 150 yard sign
  • 5 balls 5-iron – aim to bounce and hit the 200 yard sign
  • 3 balls 3-wood – aim through a 15 yard gap
  • 3 balls driver – aim through a 15 yard gap
  • Practice 1st tee shot – 1-3 attempts

This approach gives me the confidence to go forward knowing that I’m ready to hit any shot I need. It also gets me dialled into thinking about distance control and accuracy. I rarely hit the targets, but it gets me prepped for aiming on the golf course. Change the clubs and targets to best suit your game.

This isn’t a practice session where you’re working on your golf swing technique, it is purely about getting warm and working out how you will be hitting it today.

Short game warm up [5 – 10 minutes]

A great chipping and pitching warm up should make you feel comfortable with your striking and confident playing the shots you will face out on the golf course. Pick a simple 8-10 yard chip just off the green and hit 5 – 10 chips trying to hole each shot. This gets you target-focused.

Then select 2 – 3 key shots and have 5 practice attempts at each. For example:

  • 15 yard chip from the rough
  • 30 yard bump and run
  • 10 yard bunker shot

Adjust these shots, based on what you deem appropriate for the course you are playing.

Putting warm up [5 – 10 minutes]

You have two key aims for your putting warm up – building confidence and get the pace of the greens. Consistently missing tricky putts from 6 – 8 feet achieves neither of these objectives (this is how I see most amateurs warm up).

Pick a 2-3 foot putt and firmly hit 10 balls to a small point at the back of the hole. Once you’ve holed 10 putts, move back and have 2-3 attempts from 4,6,8 and 10 feet with the aim of controlling pace and line. Keeping with your 2-3 attempts, select a few 15 – 40 foot putts and see how close you can get each ball. Use your next attempt to further dial in your pace control.

Golf mental warm up [2 – 3 minutes]

This is commonly missed out, and yet so important for performance. Before your round you should know what score you will be happy with. You should already have developed a solid course management strategy and now be focused on the process of hitting great golf shots throughout your round.

During this warm up, refine your swing thoughts and focus for each area of your game. You want to avoid standing on the first tee and suddenly thinking to yourself – what am I trying to do again? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

  • Key swing thought/focus for long game is ‘x’
  • Key swing thought/focus for chipping/pitching is ‘x’
  • Key swing thought/focus for putting is ‘x’

You can be focused on your target, focused on your ball flight, or have a mechanical swing thought – just make sure it is simple and clear in your mind before you step onto the 1st tee.

Golf warm up summary

There we have an ideal warm-up to maximise your scores. This takes around 30 minutes to complete and is ideal for prepping for your competitions. You can also develop an express version for the days life just gets in the way.

1 minute of golf stretches, 5 balls with an 8-iron, 1 with a driver, 3 chips from 10-yards, 3 short putts and 2 putts from distance is my own version. Much shorter, but the process is the same – get warm, know my ball flight, be confident and dialled in with chips and putts and have a clear focus for each part of my game.

I hope you’ve found this of use. If you’d like more information on the best golf exercises check out this link and click here to read more about creating annual training plans.

As ever, please share with fellow golfers – it really helps me grow this site. Also, feel free to sign up to the Golf Insider weekly post if you would like an article like this one emailed to you every Monday.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

2 thoughts on “Golf Warm Up Routine [A Pro’s Guide]”

  1. Awesome. Simple, direct, flexable, and forgiving. Golf is fun. Golfers are freindly and interesting, gracious and happy!

  2. Starting to play again after a long hiatus. Playing mostly in charity fundraisers but want to get back to enough proficiency and consistency to enjoy the outings. Never having taken formal lessons, just my dad’s instruction growing up I wanted to get a professional’s guidance to a systematic warm up routine. This fit the bill, thorough but not overly complicated. Also appreciate the bonus pitching wedge drills! Thanks, Steve


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