The Mental Aspects of the Pre-Game Warmup

You may have noticed that my last several posts have been about the mental aspects of the physical aspects of the game of golf. I’m going to continue in that vein with this post as well.

Warming up before a round is very important psychologically. It sets the stage for the round. Personally, I’ve never had a good pre-round warm up routine. I seemed to be always rushing to get to the tee. This is patently the wrong way to start a round and my game certainly showed it! A pre-game warm up should be a mandatory part of your routine if you want to play your best during the round.

This warm up should combine both physical and mental aspects. Doing a warm up like this will certainly get your game off to its best start. The physical aspects of the pre-game warm up should contain some of the following items.

  • Stretch your muscles. It would be very beneficial to stretch your muscles before your round so that they are loose and flexible. This will not only help your game, it could also prevent an injury.
  • Be well rested. This is especially important before a tournament because they are so much more stressful. A good night sleep before your round will help you be at your best and your body and score will thank your for it.
  • Do some deep breathing. I suggest 3 to 5 deep “belly” breaths to calm and center yourself. There is real physiological evidence that doing this will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which mediates the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Hit some balls using the clubs you will need on the first couple of holes. This will help you get used to swinging the clubs you’ll use soonest. It will also help you mentally because by hitting those shots you will feel comfortable when you get to them on the holes.

As well as doing a physical warm up, you should also do a mental warm up along with it. I suggest doing the following exercises during your physical warm up.

  • As you stretch, start thinking about the good shots you have made in the past. Really get your positive emotions flowing. You might want to focus on shots you have made in the past with the clubs you will be using early in the round. Certainly re-visualize a drive, a chip, and a putt.
  • As you hit some balls with those clubs start visualizing the shots you are going to make and use your pre-shot routine as if you were playing.
  • Make a game out of hitting your shots with the clubs. Can you get closest to a yardage marker or count the number of putts till you make it into the hole. Never pick up a putt before completing it into a hole. You want to have the image of the ball going into the hole firmly in your mind.
  • Only stop your warm up with a club on a series of good shots. End putting by sinking 3 putts in a row. end hitting your other clubs on at least one good shot.
  • Put some pressure on yourself. As you do the physical activities, make pretend they are actual game shots or putts.
  • Rehearse in your mind the shots on the first hole. Visualize them, see yourself completing them successfully.

If you do the activities above as part of your physical and mental warm up, I promise that you will have a much better start to your round and end up with lower scores.

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