We are finally back on the course! And the excitement is palpable all over. However this can quickly turn to despair if the return is not well planned and managed.
A rushed return can easily degenerate into a confidence crisis as players struggle to find form after a long layoff or worse still, there’s the real danger of picking up injuries hence the need to ease into things slowly.
T-OFF News searched the net to see what experts recommend for returning golfers:
Refine your touch around the green
The short game is normally the most affected during the layoff. Your first stop should be the putting green for you to have a feel of the greens. Start with short putts to build your confidence. Practice speed of putts uphill, downhill and sidehill from different distances to the hole. Play some basic chip shots around the green.
Warm up on the practice range
The primary aim here is to get your full swing and solid contact back while avoiding injury.
- Stretch adequately. Since golf is an athletic sport, warm up your muscles before getting into any action. This will help you to avoid injuries.
- Embark on a routine starting with short wedges then move gradually to irons, woods then the driver.
- Start with a smooth swing rhythm preferably at 50% of your swing speed then step up the speed gradually. Limit full swing reps until the body can handle a normal load.
- Practice with a plan focusing on contact, distance control and direction.
Set realistic expectations
Staying away from the game for the last one month means your game is rusty. What is most critical at the moment is patience since you will not play your handicap straight away. What you score in your first round should least bother you, but find a rhythm through a clear strategy.
A good attitude and appreciation for returning will be a big help when any golfer returns after a long layoff. — Kellie Stenzel, director of instruction, Boca Raton Resort & Club
The shotgun approach to getting your game back in shape has never worked in the past, it won’t work now. Think of your game holistically to get the most out of your time and be the best prepared when you come off a layoff. — Brady Riggs, director of instruction, Woodley Lakes Golf Club
Meanwhile on the PGA Tour, the Valspar Championship is set for an exciting climax after co-leaders Sam Burns and Kevin Bradley shot an identical -2 in the third round to hang on to the leadership at -14 gross.
Their lead was however cut to one shot after Max Homa shot an astonishing -5 in the penultimate round to move to third on -13. Four players- Abraham Ancer, Cameron Tringale, Ted Potter Jr and Joaquin Niemann- are tied in fourth, four shots behind the co-leaders.
The Valspar Championship with a prize purse of $6.9million attracted 18 of the top 50 players in the world including top ranked Dustin Johnson and world no. 2 Justin Thomas. Defending champion Paul Casey failed in his bid to clinch the title for the third consecutive time when he shot +1 yesterday to drop off the pace and is currently in position 47, 12 shots behind the leaders.
Watch the action live on DStv or stream on the DStv app. Visit www.dstv.com to subscribe or upgrade and join in on the excitement.