Hit the range first in 2010.
Start the Season Off Right
By kickntrue on 3/15/10
By Matt Snyder, ClubSG Contributor

Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Spring is just around the corner! We all know what that means. Time to dust of the clubs and head back out onto the links again! Well, before you get so excited, I’ve got a recommendation that will make the upcoming spring season a little more enjoyable for you on the course.

We all start off every season the same way, with dreams of this being the year that we break through and shoot the best rounds of our lives. We are thinking about the changes that we are going to make in our swing that are going to finally be the keys to unlock the door to our best scores. While it is ok to have a positive outlook on the upcoming season, you should know that this season is most likely going to be just like any other. That is to say, unless you do something to change it.

While this may not be an easy thing to do, I have a suggestion that will help to make this season a great one. My suggestion is to start 2010 off on the range and putting green, not on the golf course. Ok, ok. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but allow me to explain. If you are like most golfers, when the weather starts to turn colder, you put the clubs away. You may not have hit a golf ball for three or four months before spring arrives. The game of golf is all about muscle memory, feel, and routine. When you take gigantic amounts of time off, you cannot expect to return to the game in the same form, or better form, then when you left it. Unfortunately, the sport just doesn’t work that way. So, be smart about how you start your season.

My suggestion is to start 2010 off on the range and putting green, not on the golf course.

As much as you may want to, don’t run to the course to play your maiden round on the first beautiful day of the season. Instead, you should run to the driving range. Deciding to practice several times before you play your first round could very well be the difference between a successful season on the links and just another summer of battling the same old habits. If you start spring off by playing every chance you get, your body will resort back to its most natural muscle movements. Often times, those are not the proper movements for a good golf swing. Your tempo and your timing will be erratic and your lack of feel will lead you towards establishing poor habits around the greens. It is just bad business to start off your season by forming bad habits that you will have to work to try and overcome for months in the future.

Your tempo and your timing will be erratic and your lack of feel will lead you towards establishing poor habits around the greens.
Instead of putting yourself through that process again this summer, spend some time chipping and putting until you feel confident in your short game. Head out to the driving range and hit balls until the golf club feels like your friend again and not some stranger you recognize but can’t remember why or where from. Start your golf season with good habits and work to make them better. This is a much easier routine than starting with bad habits and trying to transform them into good ones. I would seriously recommend scheduling an early season lesson before you start to play. Give yourself a few range sessions to get back into the swing of things and then have someone look at your swing and give you some feedback. Spend some more time on the range after that to start grooving your swing with the swing thoughts and movements that you want to maintain for the season. If you can avoid grooving bad moves in your swing right away, then you will be set up for success early and often in the year to come.

I know, I know, all your friends are playing, so you want to too. But, when you spend the summer collecting their money as you get better and they continue to struggle like they always have, you’ll be glad you resisted the urge to play right away and instead laid the proper foundation in the spring for success the rest of the year. Doing the right thing usually isn’t easy. Well, that’s going to be the case here too. Just remember, it’s going to be another season just like any other unless you do something about it. Show a little restraint and start the season by practicing instead of playing. You’ll be happy you did when you’re finally shooting the scores you’ve always hoped for!

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

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