Practice vs. Warm Up
One thing I enjoy (most of the time) about writing this column is that you readers are so darned candid. What I heard loud and clear is that you want me to get off my 'soapbox' about SCOR clubs, the PGA Tour, and a few other topics that don't affect the way you play the game. And you want me to get back on topic about what I can share that could help you play the game better, have more fun. I promise to do that, starting right now.
But I do also promise you the occasional editorializing about what I find troubling or puzzling about the game. A few years ago, I created the fictional "Texas WedgeHog — Rootin' out the truth" to be my alter-ego who could throw political correctness to the wind and just opine about various subjects. I promise to put the old WedgeHog front and center occasionally.
But let's get on with addressing some of your questions. Today I've selected one from Mr_X, who asked about "practice" time vs. pre-round warm-up time. Here are my thoughts...
To me, a pre-round session is to get loose and find what's working today, to get the feel of the club in my hands so that I am prepared for the round. I begin by stretching some, and then loosening up the muscles before my first swing. I like to swing two clubs, but one in each hand, with my hands together. That gives me the resistance in my shoulders and back of the two clubs, but when I go to just one for my first swing, the club doesn't feel heavy.
I begin my pre-round session with some short chips, then longer pitches, then move into half and full shots with the high-loft clubs. I think progress through the set to a short iron, middle iron, and hybrid, hitting shots until I get two or three really nice ones in a row, then move on to the next club. I then hit a few 4-woods and drivers, until I feel good about going to the first tee. I finish that session with a half-dozen short chip shots to re-install that feel and comfort. Then it is off to the putting green for 5-10 minutes of getting the feel of the greens and my stroke for the day.
In contrast, when I go for a practice session, I typically limit that to one thing I'm working on at the time. It might be tempo, take-away, weight shift, working a draw... whatever. I limit myself to one or maybe two things, depending on my progress. I begin that session by hitting some shots without trying to "do" anything, but rather feeling for what I am doing. Then I analyze and begin to instill changes.
I know my swing very well, so this approach works for me. If you don't know it that well, I am a big fan of engaging an instructor to help you.
Once I find what I’m seeking that day, I keep hitting balls until I feel like it is ingrained a bit. But in doing this, I always keep in mind something I learned while watching Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a session. He wouldn't let Tom hit more than a half dozen shots with one club, then he would have him change to something else. He didn't let Tom just rip 5-irons endlessly, for example. He would watch a few 5s, then have Tom go to an 8. Then back to a 4, then to a 9, etc. I thought that made sense, so I have adopted that to my practice sessions.
Okay guys, there's today's insight. I'll dive into another one of these topics next week. I would also like to ask you to use the link below for your ideas, as that way I can keep a file of them for reference. It works much better for me than trying to remember under which post a question was posted.
Thanks again for your candor and honesty to help keep me on track.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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