Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Examining the Warmup Routines of Tour Players

One thing I wanted to expand upon from my previous post where I reviewed my tournament round is my pre-round warmup routine.

For years I had wondered what is a good warmup routine and prior to the event I decided to come up with one. And what better way to determine a routine by looking at what some of the world’s best do prior to their event?

Here are some things I noticed about these warmup routines (and other videos of warmup routines from Tour players):

Typically, they show up about 1 hour before the round.

This gives them enough time to get what they want to get in without over-doing it.

Not over-doing it seems to be key theme to these routines

It’s almost like the players have a quota of time and balls hit from each station and they are going to stick to it, no matter what. What I see a lot of in amateur events (and I’m guilty of it myself) is getting stuck out on the range and if you’re struggling a bit that amateurs will continue to hit balls with that particular club until they ‘get it right.’

I think the Tour players look at the event sort of like taking the SAT’s. You either ‘have it’ or you ‘don’t have it’ and all of the extra practice directly prior to the round is not likely to change anything. In fact, it does the player no good to continue to struggle on the range. Perhaps amateurs need to view it as they are getting the bad shots out of their system on the range where it doesn’t count.

If a Tour player is set to spend 25 minutes on the range and hit about 8 drivers…they are going to stick to that schedule.

They practice each main part of the game

They get time in on the practice green, the range and the short game area. They will hit 50-100 yard wedges, full wedges, short irons, mid irons, long irons, 3-woods and drivers while they are on the range. It’s more important to get some practice in on all of the shots rather than focus on one area.

There is not much in the way of technique and mechanics being practiced

Again, it’s like taking the SAT’s…you either have it or you don’t. This is very smart by the Tour players because they are now engulfed in external focus (the target, the visual of the shot you want to hit, how the ball will fly and roll, etc) instead of internal focus (swing thoughts and visuals, what positions you are trying to hit and what motions you are trying to make). There’s a time and place for internal focus, but it’s not on game day.

If we do see some technique oriented stuff, it’s usually on the practice green, but it’s more of a drill on the greens.

They usually hit the putting green twice before they tee off.

Most of the players will either hit the putting green first or second in their routine. Then they’ll make it to the range or the short game area and most of them will then head back to the practice green again before they tee off.

The first time on the practice green appears to be more about getting an initial feel for the green along with some players working on some drills. The second appearance to the practice green is more about simulating putts they will have on the course.

There is virtually no downtime, particularly before they tee off.

The players move from station-to-station. It may not be super-intense, but they are not goofing off either. And most of them go to the practice green for the second time right before they tee off and they pretty much go right from the green to their first tee. I found this to be very different from my typical pre-round warmup routine where I would hang out for a while and try to calm my nerves instead of just going from the practice area right to the tee.

With that, I came up with my own pre-round warmup routine based on what I wanted to work on. I started to time each of these routines prior to the tournament to see how long they would take. Here is what I came up with.

• Show up 65 minutes prior to tee off

• Use the Ikkos system (13 minutes, 52 minutes left)

• Head to practice green with 10 golf balls. Speed/touch drill, clock drill and then 5 right-to-left putts and 5 left-to-right putts (14 minutes, 38 minutes left)

• Head to range (25 minutes, 13 minutes left)

12 slow motion 4-irons
6 regular speed 4-irons
8 9-irons
5 2-hybrids
5 3-hybrids
4 3-woods
8 Drivers
5 punch 6-irons
4 regular swing 6-irons

• Head to chipping green (6 minutes, 7 minutes left)

• Head to practice green (simulate some putts, hit some long 30+ foot putts) (6 minutes)

• Head to first tee

Unfortunately, I over-slept and only arrived to the course 45 minutes ahead of time. That meant cutting out the Ikkos practice. I also was a little slower moving around from station-to-station here than I was when I timed it at home. But, I did get in practice at each station, I just didn’t get to hit the putting green twice. Our tee time was at 7:57 and I arrived to my cart at 7:52 and they were anxious for me to get on the first tee.

But in the end, I think it was a better warmup routine than what I have typically employed. I plan on coming up with better routines on the practice green, so I can get what I want to get in and take it to the course.



Unknown said...

Another very useful article Rich. Thanks.
What did surprise me is the limited amount of time you decided to allocate to short game shots. I consider these feel shots which have more variability to them than full-swing shots and are dependent on green speeds. As such they seem like they would demand a greater proportion of the warm-up time. What was your reasoning here, and was it based on the typical allocation of a Tour pro?

Rich H. said...

The Tour players hit much more short game shots (60-120 yards) than I do. I based my practice routine off my statistics of the game and the course we were playing as well. Obviously, my statistical research shows that shots from 60-120 yards are not nearly as important as shots from outside 120-yards, short game shots from 10-20 yards and putting from 3-15 feet.

Victoria Hills in itself has some long, difficult par-3's. #3 plays to about 200-yards and missing the green puts you in a precarious position. #14 plays about 230 yards. Then the par-5's are 'gettable' and the need for good 3-woods and hybrids is pretty important.

I only had a few shots from 60-120 yards. Probably could have done better on those shots, but the lies were often very tough (undulated course).