Time to shape up for the new spring golf season

March 21, 2011

Preparing for this year’s new golf season will be a little harder than usual, and I prefer to blame it on the weather.

Unlike prior Cape Region winters, this one had few, if any, mild days when one could feel a tad adventurous about playing a round of golf in the high 40s, as long as the wind wasn’t too brisk.

I recently returned to the practice range at Shawnee Country Club, where I hadn’t played since last November. I would love to say that my golf swing came back to me immediately, but that would be stretching things just a bit - a huge bit, in fact.

The mats at Shawnee’s range are pretty forgiving, but there were plenty of squirrelly shots, both right and left, mixed in with the occasional “Yeah, that’s it.”

On the morning of the next day, several body parts also announced that they were not used to the strains of the practice session. Instead, they were in the mood to remind me that returning to golf after a long absence requires some physical reconditioning.

Therefore, I have returned to our basement exercise area, and have reacquainted myself with the free weights, the Joe Weider cable weight station and a few other torture devices.

My year-round exercise routine always includes 30-minute sessions on a stationary bicycle, several times a week. At this point, however, I should be increasing that regimen to a minimum of six days per week.

As for weightlifting, I have come around to the notion that repetitive lifting of lower weights is better for my golf game than attempting to set new age-group records for total poundage.

Based on my own experience, it’s not critically important to do weightlifting exercises that mimic the golf swing. It’s better for me to push and pull my normally deskbound muscles into better condition in a more general fashion. That means bench presses, lateral pulldowns, leg lifts, curling, and the other basic routines.

For specific golf muscle workouts, I use a weighted golf club that looks a bit like a five-iron, with a special grip intended to place your hands in the correct position.

About 15 to 20 slow, full swings per day seems to help bring me back into golfing shape without risking injury.

For your own workouts, you might consider a consultation with not only your friendly local golf professional, but also your family physician. They can help you decide how much time and effort for your workouts is safe for you.
Preparing for the new season is not just a matter of your own physical conditioning, however. Take a look at your golf clubs, and see which ones could use new grips.

The Cape Region golf shops and the local pros will be happy to help you with the replacement process.

I hate it when that happens
Some golfers collect logo golf balls. Others collect scoring pencils from the courses they play. I collect ball markers.

Markers are usually colorful bits of metal, sometimes with magnetic elements to keep them attached to a ball-mark repair tool or a hat clip. Many golfers use special coins as a ball-marker alternative, such as a Canadian Loonie or a bi-metal British 2-pounder.

A recent USGA Ruling of the Day involved a ball marker that apparently wasn’t up to the task.

A player marks his ball position with a coin, and presses the coin into place with his putter after removing the ball. Some yards away, he then notices that his marker coin somehow stuck to the bottom of his putter.

According to the USGA, there’s no penalty involved. That’s because the ball marker’s movement occurred while actually marking the ball’s spot on the green.

The remedy is straightforward. Just return the ball or marker where the ball was on the green originally, or at least as close as you (and your playing partners, if desired) can recreate it.