Henry Foster of @SkilledGolf
There are times in our lives where we may play golf every day of the week. Yet, there are other times where we may not pick up the sticks for months. These long breaks from golf sometimes prove to be good for our game. Many people realize that a few of their swing flaws seem to disappear when they take a break.
However, there are a few essential things to remember about coming back from golf after a long break. We want to ensure that you make your return safely and minimize any potential injury as well. Here are some great tips to get back into golf after a long break.
Don’t Start On the First Tee
Golfers that have been out of the game for a while will often be anxious to make their return. They will head out to the first tee, pull the driver out of the bag, and try and rip one down the center of the fairway.
Sometimes this can go well for a golfer, and other times it will be painful. Swinging a golf club requires quite a bit of muscle involvement and strength. If not done correctly, it can easily lead to injury. When you consider that golf drivers are swung at over 100 miles per hour, you can see how an improper swing could cause some issues.
If you are making your return to the game of golf, you must start small. In fact, you should do nothing more than a chip in the beginning. Do not run-up to the first tee and grab the driver. Your transition back into the game should take time, and that is entirely acceptable.
Stretching Is Important
Whether you are making a transition back into golf or playing golf every other day, stretching is essential. Golfers tend to skip this step, and it is one of the best preventative measures out there. If you want to play golf your entire life and avoid injury, stretching is critical.
It’s not enough to reach down and touch your toes once before you start swinging. You should focus on stretching your back, legs, arms, wrists, and shoulders. Find a great stretching routine that will allow you to loosen up your muscles prior to a round of golf.
Short Game Is Key
The short game is the best possible way for a golfer to reenter the game. Practicing chipping and pitching is much easier on your body than hitting full swing drives. Another great thing about the short game is that it is a miniature version of the full swing.
If you can establish proper fundamentals in your short game, you can carry those into your long game. When you decide you want to get back into golf, grab a wedge and a few balls. Start hitting shots that go twenty or thirty yards.
Focus on your tempo and hitting shots that land softly on the green. Do not worry about distance at this point. If your fundamentals and your tempo are great, the distance will come. Practicing your short game should be fun. You can choose different targets, play around with your gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge as well.
Practicing your short game is not only going to help you ease your transition into the game; it will also make you a better player. Even after you start playing golf regularly, you should dedicate time to practicing your short game regularly.
Start With Nine Holes
Eighteen holes of golf can be taxing on your body. If you have been out of the game for a long time, playing eighteen holes may be pushing it. Golf courses have a perfect solution for you, a nine-hole round.
Nine-hole rounds will let you feel as though you are getting back into the game. You will enjoy time out in nature for a few hours, get a few chances to see where your game stands, but you won’t be pushing yourself too hard either.
The nine-hole round generally takes about two hours to play. This is another reason that nine holes is an excellent way to get back into the game. Spending 4-5 hours on an eighteen-hole round could be a bit more than your body is ready for.
Playing a solid round of nine holes is a much better experience than having to walk off the course after fourteen holes. If you push yourself too hard initially, you may find that it is not worth it.
Walking Is Helpful
Some people think that walking the golf course is going to add additional strain and work to your transition back into the game. This is not true. Walking is very good for your body, and it could help ease your transition back into golf.
Walking allows your body to stay limber the entire time you are on the golf course. When you use a golf cart, you will be stopping and starting much more often. You will also spend a lot of time sitting where your muscles will get cold again.
The best way to walk the course is using a golf pull cart. Trying to carry your golf bag can be rough on your back and shoulders. The pull cart is easy to use and makes walking the course much more enjoyable.
A nine-hole round of walking is a better transition into the game than eighteen holes on a cart. Your body will thank you for this!
Allow Yourself Time
A transition back into golf after a long break can take quite a bit of time. You will also need to consider how long you have been out of the game. If you have not played for a week or two, it may only take a quick session on the range to get you back into the game.
However, if you have not played for months or even years, you need to consider giving yourself a few weeks to get back in the game. Start by heading to the driving range and bringing only a wedge and a nine iron.
Hit half shots and chip shots and eventually work your way into full swings. Do this for a few days and then transition into mid irons and hybrids. Focus on your tempo and your balance. Your distance may be lacking, but it will eventually come back.
If you start looking for distance the second you get back in the game, you will develop some pretty terrible habits. Take things slow and work your way up to the driver. Once you get to the driver, hit two or three and then back it down to the wedge.
There is no reason to stand on the range and hit 45 drives in a row. This is a tip that you should remember not just when easing back into golf but at all times. Make practice sessions as realistic as possible. Is there ever a time on the course where you would hit 45 drives in a row? Clearly, there is no need to practice this.
As you can see, there are three main takeaways when you are ready to pick your clubs back up. You need to give yourself time, start small, and take care of your body. If you put yourself first and forget about trying to hit the ball 300 yards your first time out, you will have a much longer golf career. The primary issue that we are trying to avoid is an injury. Injuries will happen when bodies are not ready to start playing and competing again. Get through the transition period safely and injury-free, and you will be back to your old self in no time.