As you look through the second-round tee sheet you note that you’re off at 7.10am. Another early start – getting up in the dark, travelling to the course in the dark, warming up as the sun comes up…sounds inviting hey?! This is exactly where a strategy counts. Your schedule needs to be effective to set you up for a fast start – rather than waking up through the front-9 only to realise that you’ve played yourself out of contention because you didn’t pay enough attention to planning.
Many questions arise in this scenario:
- Do I stick to getting to the course 90-120 minutes before? If so – that means I need to be there and ready to start warming up by 5.40am latest?!
- When do I eat my breakfast? We know 2 hours before the tee time is ideal, but that means getting up to eat around 5am…do I really need to do that?!
- What about my sleep? Do I go to bed early in the hope I can sleep, or do I stick to my normal bedtime of 11pm?
Of course, everyone is different and other factors will all play their part in how your strategy comes together and whether it is effective with regards your performance on the course.
There are often two schools of thought on this:
1. Get to bed early, get up early, deal with the early morning preparation and travelling to the club in the dark and stick to your usual breakfast, warm-up, and preparation strategy. Some may say, “it’s what the professionals do”! Do they though? This strategy may work for some and may allow a full warm-up (physical and golf) to take place before the tee time. At what cost?
2. School of thought number two would say, ensure you listen to your body and go with an adapted strategy to get the maximum recovery following round one. This means not cutting your sleep short to get up too early. Adapt your warm-up to a shorter strategy, and plan your nutrition alongside this – i.e. the meal you have at dinner the night before suddenly becomes even more important. In either scenario this should consist of some refuelling carbs and proteins to ensure your body is able to recovery and you feel satiated ready for a good night’s sleep. Breakfast can then be lighter and continue into the round as you graze on smaller amounts of slow releasing carbs (i.e. low GI – search for glycaemic index for more info) and maintaining your hydration levels too. Adapting your strategy in this way means trusting the process – knowing that you can be fully prepared to perform on a shorter warm-up session on the range. Of course, any strategy should be tried and tested with on course / drive performance metrics assessed and optimized.
Whichever approach you adopt, it does rely on high sleep quality to ensure you’re able to perform at your best the following day. Keeping a consistent bedtime routine can help you to relax, forget about any golf / non-golf stress and clock up those hours of shut eye. However, when on the road at tournaments the change can play havoc with your sleep duration and quality due to a different bed, too firm / soft a pillow, curtains / blinds that don’t close properly or blackout the room fully, a snorer in a room nearby, or even worse in the room – if you’re sharing! Being proactive on combatting all of these can help to optimize your recovery and that’s where effective sleep hygiene can provide those 1% marginal gains (be sure to look out for our blog on sleep hygiene and what you can do to improve your sleep).
To help you decide which strategy works best for you make sure you log:
1. Your round duration
2. Your rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) – i.e. how much effort you felt it took to complete the round.
Where you see a pattern of increased levels of exertion alongside decreased levels of perceived recovery (in your daily wellness reporting), you should revisit your strategy to make it more effective for you and your performance. This could involve better recovery interventions or looking at your scheduling, practice and training loads etc.
Of course, what works one week may not work the next where the environment and contextual influences vary. The key is to have a tried and tested strategy in mind, but be flexible enough to adapt it to suit what’s going on in the here and now.
Your team on AMI Sports: Golf
At AMI Sports, we highly recommend discussing your strategy for various tee times with your coaching team. That includes your golf coach, S&C coach and any other relevant support team members (including parents where applicable). To do this effectively, remember to visit the ‘Team Members’ section in your profile and add relevant coaches into ‘My Team’ using their email address. At the start of each week they will automatically receive your weekly AMI Sports: Golf monitoring report to their inbox.
Dr Ben Langdown is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching at The Open University and has published various journal papers in the area of golf and sports science. Specifically, Ben's research focuses on athlete monitoring, warm-up protocols, and training interventions in the sport of golf. Ben is also a Strength and Conditioning Coach for England Golf and over the past 15 years has provided biomechanics and S&C support to golfers from amateurs through to European (Men’s and Ladies’) Tours and a European Senior Tour Season Champion. Ben has presented at 4 World Golf Fitness Summits and the 2018 World Scientific Congress of Golf, where he also acted as an invited review panel member supporting education for >150 academics/coaches. He has delivered various invited keynote workshops with international organisations, including England Golf, The PGAs of GB&I, Spain, Czech Republic and Slovakia with all adopting his applied approaches. Most recently, Ben has developed the AMI Sports: Golf athlete monitoring app allowing further insight into golfers’ practice, tournaments, training and daily wellbeing.