Despite all this, even if you are slipping off on the weekend for 18 holes with your foursome, how do you keep your game in shape? For all you corporate executives who find yourselves in this predicament, here are some tips on how to keep the cobwebs away during those weary weekdays and other times when you cannot get out to even take a practice swing on the front lawn:
Golf: Hitting it right
Obviously the one thing to avoid during the cool weather and infrequent rounds is a sore back or shoulder. To avoid straining a muscle, do stretches as often as you can — preferably daily. There is so much information available now on the subject of stretching that we do not want to get into the details of a stretching routine.
Only this —make sure your lower back and your neck and shoulders get the most attention as this is where there is maximum stress and risk of injury. One stretch you can do just before putting on your suit in the morning. While standing upright, hold a golf club in both hands with both arms extended in front of you at shoulder height. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and go through a complete spinal rotation motion. This is a favourite stretch of Jack Nicklaus because it addresses the specific golf muscles.
Practice your putting
Buy yourself an artificial turf putting mat —they are available at most good pro shops and cost around Rs 1500. There is even a deluxe version which at the press of a button simulates various slopes of the green. You can practice the basics of the stroke anytime — in your office or at home . Work on a few good basics like keeping your head still, keeping your grip pressure light and taking your putter straight back and through (most mats have a white line to help with this). This will keep you in touch with the feel of your putter and build confidence for the weekend game.
Look into the mirror
While doing so try to check your address position and take dummy swings while keeping a good rhythm and perfect balance — the foundations of consistency. Do not get bogged down in technicalities like bending your elbow, cocking your wrists and rotating your shoulders. Instead, concentrate on a good set up and then focus on smoothness, a good rhythm and keeping your balance. Simple thoughts like these will give you better results on the course. Leave complex mechanics to professionals who have all day to work on their swing technique.
Warm up before you tee off
So its Saturday and you’re on the tee at 8 am. Typically, you would meet your foursome at the clubhouse and sip a cup of tea before teeing off. Wrong! Get there 40 minutes ahead of time. Do a few stretches on the range, then hit no more than 30 shots starting with the wedge and working 4 shots with alternate numbered irons before ending off with a couple of fairway woods and the driver. Then, while your buddies are sipping tea, get onto the practice putting green for 15 minutes and work on putts in the 20 foot range. This will get you thinking about speed and feel.
Find a rhythm to help you gauge the speed of the putts and round off the session after you’ve holed a few of those confidence testing three footers around the hole. This 45 minute routine will save you an average of three to four strokes off your score if you are a 20 handicap golfer — an investment well worth your time.
Of course in these current business conditions, a common comment we hear is that since there is less work to do, golf is finding more time in the schedule and hence we are seeing many executive and businessmen golfers spending more time on the course. On the flip side people are working harder to just keep their businesses above water. Either way, try these simple game improvement techniques for a few weeks and see your enjoyment of the game increase.