I am writing this one month to the day from the first day of The Masters Tournament 2013, and to be honest I am counting down the days to Augusta from now on. For those of you who have been lucky enough to be there you will know what I mean. But the topic of this blog is geared toward those of you who cannot wait to get out on the course again, and that may well be before April 11, so here is a primer on some of the things you need to do and start doing now before you head back to the first tee.
Equipment: If you haven’t practiced over the winter, you will need to locate your stuff — clubs, shoes, balls, etc. — and get them together. You may want to inspect your grips because the best tune up you can give your clubs right now is replacing any slick old grips. To check, take your favorite club out of the bag and wash it in soap and water. Dry it off and see if it feels slick to the touch. If it does, head off to the local golf shop and have all your clubs (with the possible exception of putter) re-gripped. Next, check your shoes. Do the spikes resemble smooth convex pieces of rubber? If so, you might want to get the spikes replaced or maybe even buy new shoes while the stores still have sales on them. Most golf shops will sell you new spikes and put them in for you. Lastly, you might want to check that you have about a dozen golf balls. There is nothing worse than losing a ball on the fourth hole and finding out that you are down to the last ball in the bag.
Clothing: This should be easy. Just make sure that you can find your rain gear, umbrella and that lucky hat. You may want to add a shirt or two with these new moisture-wicking fabrics again before the season hits and the prices go up. To be extra smart, put an extra pair of socks in your golf bag. You have no idea how many people buy new socks at the golf shop when they show up to play!
Your body: Last, and most certainly not least, if you haven’t hit a shot since last September, you should start on some stretching exercises. Rotational stretches and flexibility work top my stretch list for all of you that have hibernated since last season. Check with your physician or go online to websites such as www.Mytpi.com to get some good ideas.
Lastly if you have been watching, Tiger Woods won again Sunday, making 76 tournament wins in his career so far. He will be playing at Bay Hill soon and is swinging the club so well you should take some time to watch him play. Until then, think azaleas and peach trees!
Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.