In a perfect world, we would all show up an hour before our tee time and have plenty of time to stretch and hit balls on the range before we play. However, things happen and sometimes we get to the golf course with barely enough time to change our shoes. This was the case with me yesterday.
Having a doctor's appointment in Metairie at 11am and a tee time at Santa Maria for 1pm I thought I would have plenty of time. The worst-case scenario in my mind was I would be out of the doctor by 11:30 and get to the course with a half hour to loosen up and hit balls. My appointment ran a bit later than expected and I got to the golf course with only ten minutes to spare.
It is not ideal but there is a way to maximize your limited time and be well-prepared for your round of golf. These two tips will get you prepared in the least amount of time possible and ready to tee off.
Tip 1 - Stretching - This is the more important of the two tips. Stretching can not only loosen the body ready for your golf swing but also help reduce the risk of injury that could possibly occur from taking full swings while the body is tight. I personally like to use my GolfFOREVER swing trainer (shown below) to stretch and take practice swings. After using the bar to stretch the weighted trainer allows me to take smooth swings and get stretched out while going through golf swing motions. You can see a short video I fully stretch when time is not an issue here (https://youtu.be/lCMUcn5aBaQ). Even though I highly recommend the GolfFOREVER swing trainer it is not needed. You can grab a club to stretch and once you feel loose enough to take swings you can grab a second club and take small swings with both clubs in your hand.
Tip 2 - Putt to The Fringe - The most important part of putting is figuring out the speed of the greens to the best of your ability. You can get the correct line of a putt right all day long but if you don't have the speed the putt most likely will not go in. When time is short forget about putting to a cup. The reason for this is to not focus on making a putt. If you putt toward a cup there is a chance you will worry about the line as much as the speed. When you putt to the fringe you are focused only on one aspect. The goal here is to walk about 10 feet from the fringe and hit 2-4 putts (depending on time) and have each putt finish 3 inches to 1 foot just over the edge of the fringe. This is somewhat of a personal preference as some golfers putt more aggressively than others. You will notice in the video below I putt the ball with a more aggressive stroke and the balls go just over a foot past the fringe line. This is why putting to the fringe is so important for speed. That told me the greens were faster than I thought and I was able to adjust quickly on the golf course. Had the balls not reached the fringe I would have known the greens were slower. A perfect speed for this drill is to have the ball just roll a few inches over the edge. If the ball is hot hard enough to get over the edge line it was hit hard enough to get to the cup but not too hard to have a 3 feet putt if you miss. If you want more tips on putting including this drill check out this video https://youtu.be/httEDrRJzEs
Again, ideally, we would like to arrive with enough time to stretch, go to the range and hit balls, have time on the putting green, and maybe even time for some chip shots. Unfortunately, there are times we need a quick way to get ready for our round. I truly hope this helps you for next time you don't have much time before you tee off.
For anyone curious how Santa Maria was yesterday here are a few pictures from the day. Santa Maria is part of the Baton Rouge Parks & Recreation better known as just BREC. Brec Golf has 5 golf courses including Santa Maria. The golf course was in pretty good condition. A few greens were bumpy but it looked more like golfers dragging their feet than anything else. The greens also had a very good speed to them. Slightly quick but not too quick. The fairways were pretty plush as well. It was not perfect as many of the tee boxes seemed like the markers haven't been moved in days and were beat up but still playable.