Warm Up Like Vijay & Find Success on the Course
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Vijay Singh of Fiji hits out of the fairway on the second hole during the second round for the 80th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship held at Oak Hill Country Club on May 24, 2019 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
Vijay Singh has long been known as one of the hardest-working professionals on the PGA and Champions Tours. The former World No. 1, two-time PGA Champion and 34-time winner on the PGA Tour hits hundreds of balls per day and has a tempo as smooth as anyone in professional golf. While most amateurs swing too hard and practice inefficiently, Singh would be an ideal golfer for them to emulate both in work ethic and in the way he replicates every swing with consistency and grace.
Let’s take a look at a few examples from this World Golf Hall of Famer:
No. 1 - The flexible swing trainer featured in this video of Singh is perfect for developing the sweet swing and smooth momentum that Singh has exemplified for decades. When swung repeatedly with clarity and focus, this training aid simulates the big swing of the driver and maximizes your flexibility and core swing motion. It is, however, not necessarily designed to actually hit golf balls. Vijay had other ideas, as you can see in the video. But how, you may ask, did he do it? Persistence, drive, concentration, hand-eye coordination, and unprecedented tempo and balance. With this device that is designed to hone your swing on the right plane, Singh was already ahead of the curve in that regard when he stepped up and striped it down the driving range.
No. 2 - Look at this photo and what do you see? Yes, that’s Fijian superstar Vijay Singh warming up on the range before the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills last year. But what do you see? You see focus, intensity, and concentration. I see alignment rods that reinforce his already ingrained swing plane and a whole lot of golf balls. Mentioned already, Singh is known to hit hundreds of balls every day.
When was the last time you truly warmed up before a round, rather than during it? Are you just catching your stride by the 4th or 5th hole? Playing golf is about more than the score on the card at the end of the day. It’s about the preparation, the planning, and the process.
Vijay’s warmup is as important as his practice sessions and competitive rounds. In fact, you can’t be successful at any one of these aspects of the game without being successful at all of them. Singh once stated in an interview: “Groove good rhythm in your warmup, then stick to it on the course.” This is vastly different than hopefully grooving it on the front nine and hopefully maintaining it on the back nine. Understanding that the recreational golfers don’t have hours to spend at the range, it is still important to have a plan for your warmup and practice. Keep the focus, maintain the intensity, and keep your concentration, and maybe you’ll see some glimpses of Vijay Singh in yourself the next time you play.
No. 3 - Emulating our sports heroes’ work ethic and drive is possible - possessing their athleticism and excellence is another story. Look at Vijay Singh’s swing as broken down by the commentator in this video. The setup is perfect. The takeaway is perfect. The spine angle starts perfectly and remains as such throughout the swing. The position, transition, and lateral movement are all perfect, ending with balance and power.
Extension is something you don’t always see from the amateur golfer, as he or she bends their leading arm and lifts the club, rather than swinging it, maintaining that width in the swing. Most of us shouldn’t even try to copy it, but we can learn from it and get better from watching it & get inspired to work hard to create our swing on the range.