Ask the Pro: How to get in shape for another golf season
What a bonus it has been having an early start to the golf season here in the Chicago area.
With the lack of snow and unseasonably warm temperatures the past two months, a lot of us have already gotten out to our chosen venues to play some winter golf.
Now with spring upon us, it's time to get to serious about the game.
Our first step is to make sure we're golf ready with some cardiovascular exercise. I like to walk for two miles on the treadmill every other day. Regardless of whether you walk, jog or use a stationary bike, the most important thing is getting your legs back in shape to produce a strong foundation for the golf season ahead.
Next, stretching and getting your golf-related muscles -- your back, shoulders and core -- into shape is essential for producing a strong repetitive swing. The practices of exercising and stretching should be an ongoing routine throughout the year.
This is also the time to start hitting balls at your local facility or club. This is a MUST before you get out to play. If you can get out to practice a few times a week in the months leading up to the season, you will really begin to see progress.
I suggest initially hitting a lot of pitching wedges and other short irons. Hitting shorter clubs when you begin your practice session helps develop a smooth and constant rhythm.
As you progress through your bag, and on to longer clubs, keep that same rhythm. You'll find that by keeping the same rhythm and speed in your swing; your solidness of contact will improve, thus giving you consistent ball flight and distance on each club.
Once you begin to play on a regular basis, a brief warm-up session on the practice tee for approximately 15-20 minutes before you head to the first tee should have you in a good frame of mind to play well.
Putting is one area of the game that can be practiced at home and indoors throughout the year. As the season progresses, we'll offer specifics on how to improve your short-game skill.
For now, toss a few balls on the carpet at home and practice distance control. Whether your target is 10, 15 or 20 feet, work to develop a putting stroke that achieves consistent distance control.
When you are at your local golf course or club, always find time to work on the practice putting green either during a practice session or before you go out to play. There's never a substitute for putting on real grass.
As a PGA Professional, I am like all avid golfers, always searching for that one little bit of information that can make a positive and lasting change in my game. Remember, the smallest adjustments you make either pre-swing or in-swing can often lead to the most profound improvements in your game.
Ask the Pro:
If you need some advice or have a golf question for Jim Sobb, please send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Jim Sobb is the PGA director of golf at Ivanhoe Club in Ivanhoe, IL. A member of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, Sobb is a three-time winner of the Illinois PGA Championship, with eight major championships in Illinois PGA events overall, and is a two-time Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year. For more on Jim and Ivanhoe Club, the home of the 2017 Rust-Oleum Championship (June 5-11), visit ivanhoeclub.com.