Some golfers pride themselves on their uncanny ability to arrive at the course five minutes before their tee time, hit a few putts, and stripe their first drive 280 yards down the middle of the fairway. As a tournament director, I’ve witnessed my share of these players, one of them arriving so late for his final round tee time (as the leader) that I had to pick him up in the parking lot and cart him to the first tee.
The ideal amount of time to devote to pre-tournament (or any round for that matter) warm-up depends on the individual. An hour might seem like plenty, but when time spent chit chatting, paying for range balls, and navigating to often inconveniently located practice areas is taken into account, it might be better to allow for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
As most experienced players know, this is no time to fix a broken swing. You will probably get the most “bang for the buck” by spending more than half of your warm-up time on the putting green and short game area. If the course has a place to hit mid-length pitch shots of 50 yards or more, that area will often be quiet before a round, and spending time hitting pitch shots, dropping a few balls in the bunker, and hitting some basic chips will reduce the amount of time you need to hit full shots.
On the range, it’s a good idea to do some basic stretching and visualization before pulling out the big clubs. SKLZ offers a number of weighted club products including the Swing Accelerator and Power Sleeve that provide a much better (and safer) choice than swinging two clubs together. Some players like to go through the bag from short clubs to long, while others choose to “play” the first few holes by visualizing each shot and hitting it with the club they think they will use.
One final note – whenever possible avoid trips of more than an hour before an important tournament round, especially if traffic is involved. Take advantage of the chance to play a practice round the day before, relax, stay close to the course, and see how much more relaxed it makes you and how much better you play.