Let’s first talk about your body. Before we can even begin to address about your clubs, we need to make sure our personal hardware is in its best possible condition in order to hit the golf ball consistently with an athletic swing over a 4 ½ hour period. The best thing to remember is that you need 30+ minutes of cardio at least 2-3 times a week. That is
the minimum requirement which is used as a rule of thumb. Any cardio is better than no cardio, but this will help you on the course more than you can imagine. The more cardio you have done in the past will result in more controlled swings over your 18 hole round and therefore lower scores. Light weight training is also important to keep your muscles toned and your swing athletic. Please consult your local trainer before starting any workout routine. Also in your golf bag make sure you have a sports drink, granola bar, and maybe a piece of fruit so you can re energize yourself and keep your mind thinking clearly with the electrolytes, grains, and antioxidants. You can drink water all day instead of a sports drink, but you do need some carbohydrates and antioxidants to keep your blood sugar up to get you through the round. I want to stress to you that a hot dog and beer, although some of the best food on a golf course, does absolutely nothing for you as far as nutrition and mind control. It may taste great going down, but I wouldn’t guarantee any extra birdies playing with that fuel.
Stretching is very important before your round. I see guys with bad backs not hit any range balls before a round and then go straight to the first tee and try to hit a driver. They then wonder why they have bad backs. Make sure to stretch your body with the club, do some quick jumping jacks; get your body a little warmed up before attempting the driver. If you can hit the range before your round and start out with some short wedge shots then gradually work your way up, that would be ideal; but remember always stretch and warm up before your round.
A couple other things that are also very important for your body are sun block and lip balm. For sun block, I like to use a 60 SPF. For me, the sun block that comes in the compressed can is the best for golf. You don’t have to touch it and it sprays a continuous fine mist to get your arms, legs, neck, and face. You will never catch me on the course without my Chap Stick; honestly I feel naked without it and over time it has become bad luck if I don’t have it. Maybe a superstition, but with this game, we need all the help we can get so I make sure I always have it with me.
Now let’s move on to your golf hardware. Before we even look at new clubs or getting fit, look at what you are currently playing with. If you know that you are of an average height and build, you probably don’t need anything custom fit unless you swing exceptionally hard or if you are getting in the silver years and have started slowing down a little, then you might need to analyze your shafts. So long story short that means you would be standard length and lie of the club and a regular flexed shaft; steel for the younger guys and graphite for the older generation. Your grip size would most likely be standard as well. This means you can buy right off of the shelf. 80% of all golfers are standard everything so no customer fit necessary. Assuming that is
what you own, when watching amateurs, one of the worst things I see is when people play with dirt in their grooves. No matter how good of a swing you put on it or how custom fit your clubs are, when your grooves are dirty the ball is going to come off of the face like a knuckle ball with no controlled spin; it could go anywhere. With that said how about cleaning the shafts and grips as well while you are at it. When you are lining up a putt or setting up to an iron shot and you see nothing but finger prints on the steel shafts, they can be distractions; the clubs need to be spotless to help retain your focus. Also, have you noticed the pros wiping down their grips on every shot? I know we are not on tour, but to be more consistent, the only thing that is touching the club is your glove to the grip. If either is worn the club can easily move a little and a little is a lot in golf. I heard somewhere that 1/8” off on a mid-iron shot sways 10 yards offline. That is a lot and we need to hit it as straight as possible…unless you are Houdini around the greens of course.
Check your glove and grips regularly for wear and replace as necessary. What I have heard for years is that if you play golf once a week you need to replace your grips once a year. Play twice a week, change twice a year and so on. An old glove can be brought back to life by grabbing your wet towel for a second and then working the glove back in, but for better feel, change your glove when it is worn. Now that I think about it, you might want to check your spikes out while you are at it. Without having the old metal spikes around that really stuck in the ground, you need to make sure your plastic spikes are holding up to the challenge. If they are worn, replace them. Your spikes are the only things that are connecting your body to the ground, so they are kind of important. Golf is a game that requires respect of not only the people around you and the course, but also your clubs and body. When you respect them and change them as necessary, the golf gods will see that and begin to pay you back.
Now let’s say you are 6’-7’ tall or under 5’5”, then you should look at a custom shaft and or lengthened/shortened clubs. The slower swing speeds need more whip in the shaft to help with more club head speed and maybe a little shorter shaft to help with accuracy. The taller golfers and generally faster swing speeds need a stiffer, longer shaft to accommodate the extra club head speed. Keep in mind that the longer the shaft gets, the weaker it gets. So if you play a stiff flex, but you need over an inch in length added to your shafts, you might want to look into extra stiff in the longer length. The same rule works both ways for shafts becoming stiffer as they get shorter. Grip size then also becomes very important. The longer fingers are going to need a mid-size or jumbo grip to ensure that the left fingers are not pushing against the palm (right handed golfer). The fingertips should lightly be touching your palm when you take your normal grip to ensure a proper grip size. Smaller hands are generally okay with a standard grip, other than most women. Ladies’ grips are thinner and lighter than standard men’s grips. The correct grip size is very important for the timing of the club during impact. Too small and it goes left, too big and it goes right.
You can also adjust the lie of your golf club upright or flat. This is generally done by hitting on a lie board and analyzing the mark on the bottom of the club or done by analyzing the spin rate from the ball off of the face. This is done with current technology using high speed computers, cameras, and mathematical equations to catch the actual spin of the golf ball. The old way is basically to look at your divot and see if you are toe or heel deep. If you are toe deep that means your clubs are too flat and need to be bent upright and the opposite for heel deep. Your local golf professional/club fitter will help you decide what is right for you.
It can get as detailed as you want it to be. Do not get lost in all of it; the most important thing is to take care of yourself so you can have more fun and success at doing something you love.
Hit it pure!