“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s golf game – it’s called an eraser.” So goes the famous quote by Arnold Palmer, and so goes golf’s inevitable truth—that the game is a challenging one. For those of us who have spent these past months of colder weather far removed from the links, the game can be especially tough as we attempt to knock the rust off what was likely a less than Mickelson-esque swing to begin with. But fear not. Before warm weather and fresh clipped greens demand your presence on the course, you still have time to get your golf gear primed and your short game repolished. By putting in a bit of effort now, you’ll be able to take those first games by storm and outclass your friends, whose only preparation has been a few range hacks, before tee time.
- Scrubbin’ the Clubs: Though the sight of those dust covered clubs and that old golf bag might tempt you to seek out a fresh set of irons, chances are your old set is still in good shape. A well-maintained set of clubs can last you past the five-year mark, and all it takes is dedication to routine maintenance once golf season is back in full swing. In order to get the clubs out of hibernation, give them a solid cleaning just like you would after a full 18-holes. Clean the head and grooves with a soapy solution and a wire brush to remove all dirt and grime (do not use bleach as it can damage the surface of the club). Wipe the handle down with a damp rag and then dry the entire club thoroughly with a towel to keep rust from forming on steel shafts.
- Home on the Range: Though you may think your swing has improved through an offseason spent watching the pros hammer out -5 scorecards, that nasty slice has probably gotten worse as the months have gone along, and your lob wedge still probably sends your divot further than your ball. The only way to get your golf game back to a respectable level is to return to where all champions are made— your local driving range—and invest in a few buckets of balls. Beyond just refreshing your old swing, the local range is a great place to sign up for a few lessons to work out the kinks before you hit the course. Be it your sand game, your putting, or your full length clubs, a good instructor can help you develop a few tricks to knock some pesky strokes off this seasons scorecard.
- Frictional Footwear: Believe it or not, a large chunk of golf injuries and mishit balls come from slick conditions and improper footwear. Short cut grass at the tee box and on the fairway is slippery by nature and morning dew can cause things to get even more slippery by creating additional moisture. Luckily, you can grab a good pair of golf spikes without having to break the bank. Check your local pro shop for sales or go online and snag a pair to really add some security to your game.
- The Ball Arsenal: High spin. Low spin. Low compression. Medium feel. With the many millions spent on golf ball marketing each year, it’s hard to differentiate fact from fiction when restocking the arsenal with this season’s batch of balls. An expert will tell you a three or four piece ball is important for long shots off the tee. A beginner will tell you cheap balls are important because they’re all destined to end up in the lake. There’s no right or wrong answer when shopping for the perfect fit, but in general, unless you’re anywhere close to being a scratch golfer, the style of ball is going to make very little difference. Pick something that you’re comfortable with and that’s in your price range. The true pleasure of being out on the course has nothing to do with golf ball brand names.