Take a Cue from Tiger Woods: Five Ways to Get Golf Ready after a Long Layoff

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Tiger Woods fans, rejoice! The legend himself returns to play today at The Genesis Invitational at The Riviera Country Club in Southern California. His play in the Bahamas and at the PNC late last year was impressive from a technical standpoint but, more importantly, his physical improvements, most notably his stride as he walked, looked much improved. Are you eager to return to golf after a long winter lay off or injury but unsure where to start? With the right approach, you can successfully get back into swinging freely. Here are five tips to help you get started: Book a lesson with a PGA Coach Before hitting the course, it's best to talk with the experts, PGA of America Golf Professionals, to form a gameplan. They can give you drills and lessons to work your game back into shape, while also recommending exercises to help your body be more golf ready. Start small You've heard Tiger talk about the work it takes to get back into playing on tour. Follow his lead and put in the work with an extra dose of patience. A great drill is hitting wedge shots only for one practice session. Find the center of the clubface; find the right tempo; find the right motions. With a shorter shot, you'll start grooving a swing that can be replicated all the way up to a full-speed driver. Hit shots with your feet together Tiger talks a lot about his "feels" and by that, he means being able to hit the shots he wants at any given time. Now, you may not have Tiger-level feels but that doesn't mean you can groove your own personal feel. Try this: Take a 7-iron and set up to hit a shot. Now, put your feet together and try hitting a half- or three-quarter shot. Do it with five or 10 balls. With your feet together, you're forced to use your big muscles and your body to hit the ball, creating the "feels" for a proper strike. Update your gear The right equipment is crucial for maximizing your potential when you return. First, get some fresh grips on your clubs. The grips connect your hands to the club, and new ones will instantly help. Second, take a look at your glove . . . is it crusty and worn? Get a new one for increased tackiness and feel. Lastly, take a look at your shoes. When's the last time you got a new pair? We saw this with Tiger back at the 2022 Masters when he was wearing FootJoy shoes, and now his Sun Day Red shoes. Find shoes that are comfortable, stable and make you confident! Incorporate stretching Recognizing any pain or discomfort you may be feeling after a layoff is a good thing! One remedy is to incorporate more stretching. Try this simple five-minute golf warm-up from Pablo del Olmo, PGA, if you're running low on time. Or, if you're seeking more flexibility, Thor Parrish, PGA, has some great exercises for increasing mobility and better posture . Following these tips above, and Tiger's lead this week in LA, and make this a great year for golf!