I recall being at a range not so long ago where there were a few guys out preparing for their round. They had a basket of balls each and were chatting as they went through what looked like their set routine; grab the driver and smash away until the basket was empty, then get in the cart and head off to the first tee.
After about 20 shots, one of the guys would stop for a second and watch friend swishing away and then continue attacking the balls on his pitch. In turn, his mate would stop, turn and watch him smack ball after ball.
It seemed like they were wilfully hitting driver after driver in roughly the same direction, but I couldn’t really tell if it was at any ‘target’.
I don't think they could either.
Every so often one would make a comment which ranged from “I think I need a stiff shaft” or “I’m not sure why I keep slicing it” or “I haven’t warmed up enough yet” which was a cracker really as he was halfway through the bucket by now, which equated to 9 holes of golf in reality.
They eventually got into a conversation around swing thoughts and how to develop a well-honed swing like you see on tv.
Eventually they finished their respective basket of balls, got in their buggy and headed off to the first tee whilst wiping the sweat from their brows with the complementary towels that had been supplied.
No wonder they were sweating. They’d just hit a large basket of balls each which works out at around 90-100 balls depending on who fills them and it was 85f (29c). That’s a round of golf for many an average golfer, more if you think about hitting that many shots instead of the putts.
By the time they finished they’d have hit enough balls for 2 rounds of golf, it was hot and the total amount of time being out including playing would be close to 5 hours.
Fatigue is not limited to the physical side of the game. The mental side suffers too.
Can you remember how difficult it was at some point to concentrate at work, whilst studying or played well at a sport when you’ve been tired from the night before?
A whole basket of balls may not seem a lot but it's too many to be hitting just before going out to play a full round, even if you are fit. It's more difficult to swing with the same conviction and accuracy, which of course affects how we perform.
Which means it’s more difficult to focus, there is more margin for error, the mind has to work harder and there is more likelihood of frustration creeping in. Not a recipe for success.
So how many is enough?
There is no exact amount. It will vary depending on the person and of course the weather. I’m sure no one wants to stand out hitting a whole basket when it’s really cold or when it’s really hot, on top of the playing time. All I know is a basket is too many.
The idea is not to perform a full practice session nor re-train your swing on the practice ground before playing. The idea is to spend a few minutes to literally warm up, get the body moving and ‘feel’ what it’s like to swing the club again and get into the frame of mind to play golf.
Just the same way as turning up in a rush and heading straight to the first tee is not a good way to prepare, neither is spending too much time on the practice ground before playing.
I would suggest you experiment by hitting 20-25 balls next time you go out, to just get warmed up and ‘feel’ the club swinging before heading out to the first tee. Then see how you feel and how it worked. You may feel 20 is enough or you may find that you need a few more or a few less, so you don't tire too easily physically or mentally during your round.
The main thing is to find what works best for you and how many is enough.
I hope this will help you and if you haven’t already, grab a copy of my 7 Keys to improve Your mental Golf Game by clicking here 7 KEYS MENTAL GOLF GAME
To your success
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds