As a beginning golfer, it’s important to get in a practice session before playing a round. Not only will practicing loosen your muscles and put you in a proper golf mindset, it’ll give you a chance to nail down your fundamentals and gain confidence before hitting the course.
Try to arrive at the course with plenty of time before teeing off. About an hour should suffice. Plan to spend 20-30 minutes on the driving range and another 10-20 minutes on the putting and chipping green.
If you’ve taken lessons, jot down a few notes detailing what you’ve learned. For example, your instructor may have emphasized proper alignment, stance width or posture. Focus on these elements with each practice shot.
On the range, you don’t need to practice with every club. Choose a couple of short irons, a mid-iron or two, a hybrid or fairway wood, and the driver. Start by hitting several shots with your shortest club (a sand wedge, for example). Then switch to the next longest longer club, and so on until you reach the driver.
Moving from short clubs to long ones will help you establish a smooth tempo so that once you’ve got the driver in hand, you’ll be less likely to overswing. Shorter clubs are also easier to strike well, building confidence from the start.
Make sure not to overdo it on the range. Until you’re playing and practicing regularly, your golf muscles will tire fairly quickly. Hit 20-30 balls and move on to the green.
Begin your putting session from very close range – no more than a couple of feet from the cup. The idea, again, is to ingrain fundamentals and build confidence. Most importantly, try to accelerate the putter through the ball.
After you’ve made 10-15 short ones, move a few feet out and hit another 6-8 putts. Work your way out to about 15 feet, then finish with a few putts from long distance (30-40 feet). By the time you’re done, you should have a good feel for the pace of putts you’ll see on the course.
If the club has a practice green for chipping, spend a few minutes there working on very basic shots. Focus on hitting your chips with a downward strike for crisp contact.
Now that you’ve practiced your full swing, putting and short game, it’s time to take on the course. A relaxed yet thorough warmup is a great way to start the day.