So, you’re coming back to golf after a break. The reason behind the distance between you and golf is irrelevant. It might be an injury, a long winter, or maybe you had a kid. Whatever the reason is, it’s important that you get back the right way.
Thankfully, even if you come back to golf after 20 years, it won’t feel entirely new to you. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing mother nature has blessed us with. Just like you never forget to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to play golf.
What happens is our game gets rusted. It’s normal even for professionals. The key is to finding your rhythm once again and coming back stronger than ever. And it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to follow a few steps to get back to your previous self.
In this post today, we’re going to explore how you can gracefully get back into the game. We’re going to cover the important things you can do at home and at the course. Let’s get going.
Take Things Slow
The first and most important thing you need to keep in mind is to take things slow. Whether it’s relationships or sports, taking things slow is always the better option than rushing into things.
If you try to rush your way into golf, a few things can happen. For starters, you might injure yourself due to a lack of flexibility. It’s very common among players who start to play after a long break. A hamstring injury, muscle pull, etc. are everyday occurrences at golf courses.
Also, you may not be as sharp as you were. So, if you try to show off in front of fellow players and fail, it can take the toll on your mental health.
On the contrary, when you take things slow, you’re more aware of your capabilities and your weaknesses. You know how to approach the game before you actually swing your driver at full speed!
Start at Home
Every good thing in the world has a humble beginning. The same is true for golf. So, if you’re coming back to the game after a long break, you need to process yourself at home first.
The most imminent threat is your fitness. Due to the lack of activity and practice during your break, your fitness may have taken a hit. So, you need to start by preparing yourself. Hit the gym if you have to. Or, you can start with free-hand home workouts to build up your stamina and strength.
If you want to take the long and more effective route, you can check out this guide we did on golf workouts to keep you fit during the winter. They’re not exactly the same thing, but there are certainly helpful exercises that you can do.
Start with Slow Swings
The full-scale swings for the tee shot and the fairway shot are probably the most demanding part of golf. You need to be extremely in-tune with your mind and body to achieve a perfect swing.
If you remember how you used to swing, you may also remember that the swing is similar to a reflex action. Your body just does it without thinking, right? How did you get there?
Well, through repetition. Repetition is the best way to master any skill. It develops muscle memory over time to let your brain control your body without you messing things up.
You need to start swinging at home if you want a full recovery at the course. Going for full-speed swings on your first try is a very bad idea. Instead, swing at half speed for a few days. Get your body acquainted with the feeling of swing once again.
You can gradually increase the speed of your swing as you become more confident and relaxed. Once you feel your swing has returned to its former glory, it’s time to hit the course.
Practice Full Setup Indoors
Before every shot, players need to set up. It includes the club selection, adjusting ball position, gripping the club properly, etc.
Before you go into the real world and set up, it won’t hurt to do a few practice runs at home. Or, you can do it at your local driving range. The goal is to go through with the complete sequence of actions you would perform at the course, without any consequences.
When you first start after a long break, you might notice that you’re having grip problems. It’s completely normal. The perfect firmness can take a while to come back to you. The key is to set time aside every day to practice the grip.
The same is true for ball position. As you may already know, different golf shots require different ball positions and the use of a different club. If you’re not into your element lately, it can be hard to correlate the right club with the right ball position.
The answer is trial and error. If you don’t make mistakes, you won’t learn anything new. The bottom line is, you need to simulate your performance in your home or at the driving range before you actually go into the course.
Get Yourself Familiar with the New Rules
This section is targeted at players who have been out of the game for a while now. We’re talking years! The USGA and the R&A refresh the rules of golf every now and then. it might include new course laws, new handicap systems, or completely new regulations about what you can and cannot do in golf.
If it’s your first time in years holding a proper golf club, going through rules to refresh your memory is a wonderful idea. It’ll help you get updated on what has changed while you were away. Also, you reduce the chances of getting blindsided by a new penalty at the course.
Short Game. Short Game. Short Game
No matter how loud we shout about the short game in golf, it won’t be enough. The short game has always been the key to success for professional players. When you’re done with the explosive tee shot, it comes down to the finesse of your short game to take you to victory.
If you’re coming back to golf after a long break, you might want to put more focus on your short game. These are the meticulous tricks we’re talking about. So, it might take a while to get the hang of it all over again.
The good thing about short game is, well, you don’t need a long stretch of land to practice. Indoor putting and indoor chipping is very easily done inside homes. It’s all that better if you have a backyard.
We have covered all the basics of short game in golf in a separate post. If you want to jog up your memory about the short game, you can check it out.
Take a Day to Walk Through the Memory Lane
After you’ve followed all of the steps we’ve discussed so far in this post, it’s safe to assume that you’re ready for the real action. But there is one more thing you should do. And that’s walking around your favorite course for a day.
You can simply walk around and remember how it felts when you were last here. Reviving the memory will bring back positive affirmations in yourself which is very important for every player. You can walk to the bunker and see how the sand feels. Walk around the tee box to get a sense of how the course has changed during your break.
While you’re at it, why not swing a few clubs? Just take any club from the bag and swing. Don’t worry about the score. Don’t worry about the surroundings. If you can pick a time when the course is relatively empty.
It’s Time for the First Round
So, you’ve done everything right to prepare yourself for the big day. Your first day back at the course as a competitive player. While it’s important to have fun and be relaxed, you can do a few more things to put the cherry on top.
Golf courses usually assign a time frame for each player. If you know when your slot starts, try to get there early. It’ll take off the edge of being late on your first day back. Use the time to get along with other players and relaxing your nerves by enjoying the beauty of the course.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
Every athlete knows how important it is to warm up before any workout. While golf is not a workout, you should still warm yourself up. Warming up increases the blood flow to your muscles and reduces the chance of injury. It also fires you up for the main event.
Getting back to anything after a break is nerve-racking. The elements of success lie in how you prepare yourself for the big comeback. In this post, we’ve tried to cover all the areas you need to address after your long golf break.
So, if you have a few days before you go all-out, follow the steps we’ve shared with you. Hopefully, you’ll have a lovely time on your first day at the course.
Golf Practice Plans to Follow
- How to Score in the 60’s Golf Training Plan
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- How to Score in the 80’s Golf Training Plan
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Thanks for reading today’s article!
Nick Foy – Golf Instructor