If you want to avoid injuries and shoot lower scores you need a warm-up for golf. Otherwise, you’re going to make a tough game even harder by showing up unprepared.
The good news is that you don’t need hours to warm up before a round like the PGA Tour players. Even 30 minutes is a lot of time to get your mind and body ready for the round.
Let’s get into what makes a good warm up routine to play your best golf.
Warm Up for Golf
Don’t you hate it when you have days when you don’t feel warmed up until the back nine?
By the time you’re done on 18 you wish you could replay the front nine now that you’re nice and loose. Hopefully we’ll speed that process up today so you can start playing better earlier in the round with a great golf warm up.
- Warming up is crucial to avoid injuries in golf and shoot lower scores.
- Whether you have 10, 30, or 60-minutes before the round there are tons of ways to get your mind and body ready.
- A good warm up should include a mix of static stretching, driving range time, and spending time at the short game area.
Keep reading to learn how to warm up correctly for a better golf game.
Stretch and Swing
Most golfers shouldn’t get out of their car and head straight to the first tee but this is a recipe for disaster. Before grabbing a club and swinging, it’s best to stretch or get in a light workout to get the blood flowing. You don’t need to get into a heavy sweat or anything but it’s a good idea to loosen your body.
If you don’t have time for a light 10-15 minute workout, do some dynamic stretches in the parking lot or at the driving range. Read our full stretching article here and check out this YouTube video with other easy to follow stretches.
Another thing I’d suggest doing before the round is use a speed training warm up protocol.
For example, the Stack System and SuperSpeed Golf as both have great 5–10 minute routines. These aren’t speed training sessions but instead, a great way to loosen up your body and prepare for the range.
I’ve started doing this before the round and found a huge impact on tempo, increased swing speed, and more distance earlier in the round. Follow the warm-up protocol for practice swings – not a full on speed session – to get loose before going to the range.
Head to the Putting Green First
Once you’ve checked in for your tee time and are loosened up I suggest going to the putting green before the range. So many golfers hit balls first and often neglect the putting green. But putting is so important, especially if you haven’t played the golf course that often.
Don’t forget, about 30-40% of all shots happen with your putter (including putting from the fringe). Spend time learning the green speed and overall getting comfortable on the greens.
It’s best to practice from two specific distances; 3–5 feet and 30–40 footers. Here’s why… practicing from short range improves your confidence. I love how Dr. Bob Rotella explained this in his book, Putting Out of Your Mind.
“If you’re solid from, say, two to five feet, it makes it so much easier to make your longer putts. You can stroke them more confidently when you know that if by some misfortune you do miss, you’re a cinch to sink the next one.”
The other distance to focus on is 30–40 feet as it’s the average birdie putt length you’ll face on the course. If you can dial in your speed to avoid 3-putting from this range you’ll have tons of confidence on the golf course.
Hit the Driving Range
Once you’ve spent some time putting, then head to the driving range to get loosened up. But make sure to do it the right way and not go straight into hitting drivers.
Instead, start slow and work your way up to full swings and longer clubs.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen golfers walk right out to the range, not stretch and try to hit the driver or 3W right out of the gates. This is a losing formula and makes it much more likely to get injured.
Here’s the right way to warm up on the driving range:
- Start with practice swings with your feet shoulder width apart taking light swings.
- Start with short pitch shots and then into full wedges. Move on from wedges to short irons and mid-irons.
- Then move on to hybrids and fairway woods. Once you’re loose, then start hitting drivers.
- If you have a lot of extra time before the round you can play the first few holes on the range. Try to simulate what clubs you’ll hit and go through your pre-shot routine so you’re ready for the first few holes.
- Always end your range session with the club and shot you’ll use on the first tee shot of the day.
Don’t Forget About Short Game
Once you’re warmed up, make sure to hit some chips and pitches too. You can do this before or after the range depending on where it’s located and how much time you have.
This is a good time to test out how much spin you’ll get on the greens and if they’re firm or soft. If they have a practice bunker, hit a few shots from there to test out the sand too.
FAQs About Golf Warm-Ups
Do you have more questions on the best ways to warm up for golf?
If so, keep reading our most frequently asked questions and answers below.
How should I warm up before golf?
You want to incorporate static stretching, hitting balls at the driving range, and spend time chipping/pitching. How much time you spend on a pre round warm up depends on how early you arrive before teeing off.
It’s generally recommended to arrive 30–60 minutes to get yourself into a good starting position on the first hole.
How long should you warm up before playing golf?
Each golfer is different; PGA Tour players arrive 90–120 minutes early which is a bit overkill for most everyday golfers. While I like to arrive about 75 minutes early for competitive events.
For normal, casual rounds 30–60 minutes is ideal. This time will ensure you play your best, are mentally prepared, and hopefully avoid any golf injuries.
How do you warm up for your first tee shot?
The first shot of the day makes a lot of golfers nervous, especially if other groups are watching. To prepare for the first swing of the day, my biggest piece of advice is to prepare for it on the range.
For example, if you hit a 3-wood on the first tee shot, make sure you practice that on the driving range. The final shot you hit when leaving the range should be your ideal first tee shot so you have good visual imagery. Plus, make sure to read our full article on overcoming first tee jitters here.
Warming up has become a staple, especially before competing in tournaments.
When I’m playing a practice round or casual round I typically get there 30–45 minutes before my tee time. This gives me time to use The Stack, hit balls, and spend some time at the short game area.
But when I’m preparing for a golf tournament, my warm-up is longer and more in depth. By doing the same things before every tournament round it gets my mind and body ready for competition.
Here’s a look at how I prepare for events:
- Light cardio, static stretching, and body weight workout (sometimes using the Golf Forever program). Simple body weight squats, dynamic stretching, jumping jacks, and traditional stretching help avoid the risk of injury.
- Arrive at the golf club 75 minutes before my tee time. Head to the putting green and work on 3–5 footers then 30–40 footers for about 20 minutes.
- Practice at the chipping green hitting basic bump and runs, pitch shots, and bunker shots for 15 minutes.
- Use the Stack Speed System at the driving range to get my body loose (this isn’t a speed training session but a way to get my body warmed up).
- Hit golf balls for about 30 minutes (wedges, irons, woods, and driver in that order). I never worry about golf swing technique and instead try to get my lower body and upper body loose. Always end the session with the last shot being the club and shot I want to hit off the first tee.
- Finally, I spend five minutes putting and going through my full pre-shot routine.
Final Thoughts on a Pre-Round Practice Session
As you can tell there are a lot of ways to warm up before the round.
There is no “one right way” to do it so find your own version. Some golfers will need more time stretching, others hitting balls, and others on the putting green.
Find what works best for you and test out different warm up routines over time. It’s important to also test out different times; 30-minutes might be plenty of time. While other golfers might need a full hour before teeing off.
Regardless of how long or what you do, just make sure you have some sort of warm up routine. It will help you avoid injuries, play better, and hopefully, enjoy the round more.