Every couple of hours on Golf Channel an ad pops up that asks, “Are you golf ready?” The point is to sell five hours of golf lessons from your local PGA Professional. I get it. It’s a really good idea for people that are just starting in golf or seasoned vets to have some guidance on the range and around the green before heading out to the course. And, in a business that’s losing interest among the public, it’s important to make sure that those in golf and those coming to golf get a good start to the season.
But, it made me wonder: what am I doing to be golf ready?
For years, living in Texas, getting golf ready meant calling my best friend, setting up a tee-time, and going to the course on a Saturday in December. There was no off-season. Now that I’ve moved to the District-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) are, it’s a rare thing to even hit the range between the months of November and March. It means I’ve had to make some drastic changes to my life and to the way I approach the game.
Start with a stretch
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that my ass is in the worst shape of my life. I eat too much garbage and drink too much booze; I sit too long at work and don’t exercise enough; on a typical night I get nothing but “airplane sleep” and, on a typical weekend, I spend my time running errands in my car. My job is a whirlwind of confusion and there’s absolutely nothing steady about my life. Long story short: there’s no reason I should be alive today except that God has a twisted sense of humor.
But, when I get out on the course for the first time in March, I’ll be ready to go. Why? Because I swing a golf club every night. I just pick up the 6-iron in my living room, make a few practice swings and set it down. I don’t work on anything. My body knows what it’s doing and there’s not a ball on the ground so I can’t see the complete failure to produce. I’m reminded what it feels like to swing a golf club and that’s enough.
I hit a few putts on the carpet in my bedroom. I take a few chip-shots with my brand new 48 degree wedge. Sure, I’m aiming at a target, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to make anything; I’m just going for a general area. I remind myself how to take a putting and chipping stroke.
All of that takes me around 5 minutes–every night. Why every night? Because, not only am I reminded about taking golf swings and hitting putts, I’m reminded that I really love the game and cannot wait until it gets warm enough for me to hit the links.
I’m not a huge fan of reading instruction articles in Golf Magazine or Golf Digest. That’s not to say that they don’t offer anything useful–nearly every article does. I just mean, if you can’t get out on a range and try the tips out, you really aren’t going to get anything out of it. (Tip: If you read something that you really like, save it and wait until you can get to the range to try it. Do not try it at home.)
In those magazines, however, you’ll find a lot of good stuff on the rest of the game. Analysis of pros, discussion of life on tour, women’s golf, and this. Here’s the most important thing you’ll research on golf: The statistics page on the PGA Tour Website. If you enter into an office pool for the majors (as I do), this is your bible. Last year, using only these stats, I won my office pool for the Masters, US Open, The Open, and Ryder Cup. We didn’t do a PGA pool for some reason and I’ll admit my Ryder Cup win was mostly just because I prefer the Europe Team over the USA–shocking, I know!
Take the time off from playing golf to hone your fantasy play.
Finally, Plan Your Season
There are three course I want to play this season: Musket Ridge in Maryland, Kingsmill in Virginia, and anywhere in the Bay Area. Those are my must-plays for the season. However, there are ton of courses in the area that I’d like to play but, for one reason or another, I haven’t. So, I’m making a list of the courses that I’ve yet to play as a just in case my go-to’s aren’t available.
A friend of mine created a facebook group for our golfing buddies in the area. What a great idea! So, now, we can coordinate people for weekend tee-times without having to pick up the phone.
Budget: I’ve been setting aside money each weekend that I would otherwise be spending on a tee-time. Hopefully, this means that I’ll be able to play more golf…or not…