Golf is a sport that challenges both mind and body. If you want to play at your best, then it’s vital that you should prepare properly. As the great Arnold Palmer once said:
“Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character.”
When we consider the preparations needed prior to a round of golf, or entry into a tournament, we generally like to focus on a number of core areas:
- Preparing your body
- Getting the mental approach right
- Ensuring that you have the right equipment
- Understanding the rules
We’re going to take each of these elements in turn, starting with the importance of preparing your body.
Preparing the body
One of the attractions of golf is that it can be played at a slower pace than some other sports. This means that it’s a game that’s open to a wider range of ages and abilities. But, as you may already have noticed, this doesn’t mean that there is no physical exertion involved.
While it can be tempting to jump in the gulf buggy between holes, you’ll find that you benefit more from taking a walk: it helps to maintain your fitness levels and keep joints loose. Prior to playing, you’ll want to ensure that your general levels of fitness are appropriate. Although we are separately dealing with the physical and mental challenges of the game, you’ll be amazed by how much one impacts upon the other. If you look good and feel healthy, then it’s likely that you’ll take a more positive mental approach too.
Fortunately, your exercise regime needn’t be too extreme. Something as simple as hopping on to a treadmill every few days can assist with ensuring that you’re ready to play. If you don’t like the thought of heading to the gym, then you can always choose to use a home treadmill. Shop Farinellis treadmill reviews provide a good starting point, allowing you to see exactly what’s on the market.
One of the key advantages of using a treadmill is that helps to get you into a regular pattern of exercise. You can start at a fairly simple level and then move on up through the programs, if you feel the need to face a tougher challenge. Of course, if the weather allows, then getting out and walking (or even jogging) can have a similar impact. Better Health Channel explains the benefits of walking in more detail.
Keeping in a good physical state will ensure that you are ready for the game, but you should also do a proper warm-up prior to play. The golf swing places some strain on your muscles and overall physique, so it’s important that you get your muscles ready for the challenge ahead. There are a number of golf warm-up regimes available online, which provide a good starting point.
Getting the mental approach right
Assuming that you are fit and ready to go, how about the mental approach? Firstly, it’s so important to try and free your mind of distractions. If you arrive for your round at the last minute, distracted by thoughts of work or home, then it’s unlikely that you’ll play at your best.
Of course, one of the reasons why you may be playing golf in the first place is through a desire to escape from the daily grind.
A great approach that many golfers (both amateur and professional) find works for them is to visualize success. So, in the final hour before your round, you should start to imagine yourself playing the ideal tee shot from the first tee. Think about your perfect swim, ideal contact with the ball and hitting the middle of that fairway. Visualizing success is something that has been shown to work in a number of realms, from business to sports. If you get your mindset right, then you’ll put yourself into a better position to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Ensuring that you have the right equipment
Dressing for golf is all about looking your best, right? Well, partly. Most clubs will have dress codes in place that cover both the course and the clubhouse, so it’s obviously important to wear the right clothes for the club. You may well also want to look great, setting a stylish trend.
But, when it comes to clothes and footwear, you shouldn’t overlook the priority here: you need to be comfortable, in order to ensure the best level of performance. This means choosing shoes, for example, that are both practical and comfortable. If they happen to look great too, then that’s all the better.
What about your clubs? These are surely the most important pieces of equipment. Golfweek published an excellent article on how to go about choosing golf clubs and that’s well worth a read. Essentially, you need clubs that work well for you. This won’t necessarily mean spending huge sums on the best-known brand of golf clubs that you can find. Instead, focus on clubs that will suit your game and always take the time to try them out.
You might already be thinking about buying clubs online (which can allow you to save money). Even if you are determined to do so, you really must find a local store that allows you to try out your intended purchases first. Getting the right clubs can transform your game for the better, but poorly suited clubs can make life difficult for you.
Understanding the rules
It’s likely that you already have an understanding of the laws of the game. If you need a refresher, then check out the R&A website for details.
You also need to be aware, however, of any local variations. Be clear on the setup and don’t be embarrassed by a lack of knowledge.
By following the advice given above, you can put yourself in a great position to succeed. Whether that means reaching your goals in a friendly round, or seeking to excel in tournament play, you’ll gain the satisfaction of knowing that you will have done your best.