"Take 30 minutes to warm up, 15 short game, 15 full swing."
When you warm up before you play, do you hit shots with a purpose? That is, once you've loosened up, do you practice the shots that give you the most trouble on the course you're about to play? The right prep will help your scoring.
Here's an example as I look forward to playing in my 42nd Masters. Augusta National is very long, and I know I'll have to hit a number of hybrid clubs on approach shots. So I'll practice hard with my hybrids to make sure I have them under control and can hit them a little higher than normal to hold Augusta's speedy greens. In my warm-up, I'll try some hybrids until I hit a few I really like. Then when I face one on the course, in my mind I know I've already done it.
Another shot that is always critical for me is the tee shot on the 12th hole—the wonderful par 3 that requires precise distance control. On the Augusta range (above), I'll take my 7-iron, visualizing the shot I want to hit. Then I'll make sure I hit at least one great 7-iron so that when I'm on that 12th tee for real, I'm confident.
Many of you don't allow enough time to prepare properly for a round. I see a lot of players rush through their warm-ups, then need several holes to get going. I'd urge you to take at least 30 minutes warming up, the first 15 working on short-game feel, the second 15 hitting balls—with a purpose!
Excerpted from the DVD "Lessons of a Lifetime II," by Tom Watson.