What’s the best way to get cranked up after COVID restrictions are lifted? I have a few ideas to get you started. First, remember there are many anxious and frustrated players ready to tear out of quarantine just like you. Don’t be one of them. Take it slow and deliberate. Last weekend I mistakenly ventured out to my Virginia home away from home on a balmy 72-degree morning. Oops!
Tip one, get there an hour earlier than you think you should. I didn’t and arrived at 10:30 a.m. and got the last hitting station on the driving range. The course, driving range, and practice green were packed like Father’s Day. While social distancing from other players, my range experience still provided ample opportunities to deal with real world distractions. Folks were very happy to be out playing and were walking, talking, and enjoying the sunshine to the point where it was hard to concentrate. Everyone kept showing up in the corner of my eye.
Tip two, find anything to simulate playing real golf. I played an imaginary 18 holes at my home course. I had a spare scorecard in my bag and wrote my score down after each hole. That helped to pace myself and forced me to concentrate. I didn’t hit the ball that great but salvaged an imaginary 6-over, 77 at Blue Mash. The rules are simple. Map out the hole you are playing in your mind before you start and adjust based on the quality of the tee shot. Hit good consecutive shots and give yourself a par. Blow one way right or left into trouble? Take a double and move on. Only shots landing right on the target are rewarded with a birdie. The only thing missing was some joker with a Bluetooth speaker blaring music off his golf cart.
Tip three, find an unoccupied practice green and play a game of up-and-down. It’s great to work on your chipping, pitching, and putting mechanics, but you need to add pressure to get ready for real golf. Up-and-down raises the ante. Play by yourself or with a friend. Throw a ball green side and don’t adjust the lie. Select your chipping or pitching club and play until your ball is holed. Each hole is a par-2. It’s good to put yourself under the heat, feel the burn if you miss a short putt, gain the satisfaction of hitting two great shots to save par. If I can play nine holes in 3-over or better, I’m in good shape. Find out what’s a good score for yourself and try and better it. Last weekend, I had too many players on the green and the distraction of the Blue Angels ripping overhead, so I just did some light putting. The weekend before was great, though. The weather was misty, the green was empty, and my short game got a great work out.
This week a cold snap is coming with temps forecasted in the mid-50s on Saturday. Perfect for some more COVID breakout work. And of course, Sunday is Mother’s Day. Don’t forget to honor the great women in your life.