17 Early Season Golf Tips to Shake Off Winter Rust in Your Golf Game
Hopefully you have been practicing your golf game during the winter off-season to stay sharp but if not, no worries you have time to warm back up during the early season (spring).
Today I will highlight 17 golf tips to consider during spring to get ready for the summer months of golf season and help you get ahead so you can make this your best year yet on the golf course.
Golf Warm Up – Spring / Pre-Season Tips
#1: Explore New Golf Clubs
If you’ve been considering buying a new set of golf clubs, now would be the time to do so. You can get a head start breaking them in and getting used to the new clubs rather than changing clubs mid-season.
Depending on your budget, you can do a complete overhaul and buy a new driver, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putter or swap out individual clubs you’ve been wanting, like the latest driver for example.
Check out our reviews of the best golf clubs:
#2: Get Fitted for the Clubs
If you decide to buy new golf clubs, the next step is getting fitted. This will help you out during golf season by having a set of clubs or driver that matches your golf game to help you hit better shots.
Local club shops will have a staff person to help you analyze your golf swing on a swing monitor device or Trackman simulator so you can learn what lofts, shaft flex, shaft length, and any offsets needed to adjust for your golf swing tendencies.
#3: Regrip Your Clubs
If you play a lot of golf during the season, chances are your grips get warn down and slick. It’s a good idea to change them out once per year during the off-season or early season.
Here’s is our blog post on the golf grips buyer’s guide.
#4: Study the New Rule Changes
Almost every golf season the USGA adjusts the rule book and the pre-season is a great time to brush up on the latest rules and any changes.
For example, in 2019 the USGA began allowing players to leave the flagstick in the hole for the first time when putting on the greens. They also changed the rule about dropping the golf ball from knee height instead of shoulder height, among other rules changes.
#5: Set Goals for Your Golf Season
What do you want to achieve this golf season? Are you looking to set new low scores? Are you looking for longer distance off the tee? Do you want to fix swing faults or straighten out your golf swing to the best it’s ever been?
Take some time to write down goals for the entire season as well as deadlines for different goals to push you to achieve them.
Set golf goals you want to reach by May, June, July, August, etc.
#6: Study Golf Tips & Drills to Plan Your Practices
You’re already doing this step since you’re here reading this golf tips blog post today to learn more about the game. Continue this each week researching golf tips and golf drills on the internet.
You can also check out our golf training plans which give you practice routines and drills to follow step by step for 12 weeks or you can shorten the program if you’d like and make it custom to your golf game.
#7: Warm Up Your Putting Stroke
Every day, spend just 10 minutes practicing your putting stroke without a golf ball. Only your putter is needed and you’ll set up in your living room just swinging it back and forth making a putting stroke motion.
Add in a few alignment sticks or books to create a straight path to keep the putter on. This will help you hit putts straight and work on keeping the face square at impact.
#8: Warm Up Your Chipping Stroke
The best way to get your short game going after the off-season is to hit some simple chip shots at a towel 5 feet away. Practice your chipping stroke by trying to land the ball on the towel.
This builds distance control but also works on ball striking as you must keep the chip shot square to hit the ball straight on line at the towel target.
You’ll be able to tell when you pulled or pushed chip shots and didn’t keep it straight.
#9: Warm Up the Golf Swing
Hank Haney has a famous golf drill everyone should follow called the 100 swings a day rule. It doesn’t require a golf ball, just you and your golf club.
Find some open space in your home or outside in the yard/garage and make 50% swings to warm up and get the muscles in your back and torso loosening up again after a long winter lay-off.
Then move towards 75% swings and then full swings. Aim to complete 100 golf swings a day to build up your muscles and flexibility/range of motion again.
No golf ball needed. Just practice swings.
#10: Golf Stretching and Flexibility Training
The early season is a good time to get back in the gym if you haven’t already during winter off-season. Instead of doing normal weight lifting, start off with golf specific stretching routines to increase flexibility over the next few weeks.
Progress from 10-15 of stretching to then using light weights and resistance training to work the golf muscles you’ll need in the swing to power it.
Here’s some articles to review:
- 4 Great Core/Abs Exercises
- Best Stretching Exercises for Flexibility
- 6 Strength Building Exercises
- Golf Fitness Training Program to Follow
#11: Plan Your Season
If you have a club membership to a golf course, how many times do you want to aim for playing each week? Which days are for playing rounds of golf and what kind of practice schedule do you want to set up?
What other golf courses do you want to play this year? How often will you venture out and play a different golf course around your city or state?
#12: Load Up on Healthy Golf Snacks
Having a membership to a wholesale store can be beneficial. Load up on cases of water or sports drinks you can take with you to the golf course. Buy healthy golf snacks.
- Granola Bars
- Trail Mix
- Beef Jerky
We wrote a guide on the best golf snacks to eat you can read here. Make sure to get healthy carbs and lots of protein since your muscles get sore from playing a round of golf.
#13: New Golf Apparel / Shirts/ Shoes
The golf pre-season is a great time to add a few new golf shirts, shorts, pants to your wardrobe.
Now days you can find “sun-proof” golf shirts that have SPF protection and you can also shop waterproof jackets and pants for rainy days on the course.
Golf shoes are another important item to buy yearly since you wear down the shoes from putting lots of mileage on them.
#14: Practice Green Reading
How often do you go to the golf course with the intent to practice your green reading skills?
I bet you answered “not much” in your head so take this early season to focus in more on green reading. It will help your putting come a long way this golf season, you’ll be surprised.
Aim for 50 putts on the green and before hitting each of the 50 putts, squat down and read the green and go through a normal pre-shot routine to simulate out on the golf course.
#15: Hit the Driving Range
Most of our golf tips to this point have been things to get in order off of the golf course. But here’s the obvious tip you’ve been waiting to read to get you started in the golf early season.
Aim for 50-60 range balls per session and 3 sessions per week to shake off the winter rust in your golf swing. Also add in another 30-40 practice swings without golf ball to bring your total swings to 100+ during the driving range practice session.
Rather than just banging out shot after shot, follow these driving range practice routines.
#16: Spend Time Working on Up & Downs
In addition to warming up your golf game at home in golf tips 7, 8, 9 above, you should also practice at the course a few times a week.
We already shared a driving range routine to get your golf swing going, now work on up and downs to get your short game going. An up and down is a chip and a putt, in back to back sequence.
This type of practice is different than hitting 10 chips in a row or hitting 10 putts in a row.
Instead, it simulates a real round of golf where you miss the green on your approach shot, then you chip the ball close as possible to the hole and then you try to make the putt to save par.
Aim for 50 up & downs per practice session initially. Record how many successfully you complete where it takes you only one chip and one putt to get in the hole. Calculate the percentage (35/50 = 70% success rate).
#17: Pre-Shot Mental Game Training
Our final golf tip today is to practice your mental training. Work on your mind during your pre-shot routine thinking the right swing thoughts and positivity.
Break old habits of thinking negative thoughts before hitting your golf shot. Learn to quiet the mind, visualize the perfect shot you’re about to hit. And of course, practice your pre-shot routine and set-up over and over until they become second nature.
Overall, I hope today’s 17 golf tips for the early season have given you new ideas of what to work on this golf season to make it your most successful year yet.
If you found these tips helpful, check out these practice resources below as they will take you to that next level and help lower your golf scores if you follow them!