[PHOTO: David Cannon]

Ideally, you’d give yourself plenty of time to eat, stretch, hit balls and putt before you play. But things don’t always work out that way, do they? Tour players have a very disciplined range routine before they play, and you can adapt what they do to make the most of your time when there isn’t much of it.

Resist the impulse to just hit your favourite club or bang a handful of drivers and call it a warm-up. The goal of a warm-up is to warm up, and do something that’s indicative of what you’re about to do on the course. Most players on tour have a methodical system of alternating clubs day to day – say, 8-iron, 6-iron, 4-iron and so on one day and 9-7-5 the next – to spread the work through the bag. (They’re also trying to avoid wearing the faces out prematurely. Yes, tour players get unlimited equipment from their manufacturers, but comfort is king, and most players want to avoid changing more than they have to.)


Once you’ve done a brisk every-other-club pass through your bag, prepare yourself for what you’re actually going to do by “playing” the first few holes of the course. For example, if the first hole requires a driver down the right and then a 7-iron, hit those two shots with your full routine – from pulling the club, picking your specific target and hitting the shot. A tour player might finish the warm-up playing the first five to nine holes shot by shot.

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The most important element in this process? Taking the warm-up from getting your body ready to getting ready to actually play shots, which means different clubs and randomised targets. Hitting 20 7-irons in a row doesn’t tell you what you need to know or get you ready for the challenge. So spend your 10 minutes with a plan, a purpose and some variety, and you’ll be more likely to start your round positively.