If your golf clubs spent the summer hibernating from the Palm Springs heat, you'll want to do a little more than dust them off before you start swinging them again.
When you see a weather forecast in the 80s, you start thinking about shooting in the 80s, but remember what your swing coach always says, “slow down.”
If you haven't held your sticks since last season, you may have forgotten that your grips were as slippery as a downhill slider for par. Just about any golf shop will re-grip your clubs for around a dollar per club. The grips will cost you between $5-10 each, but you'll be thankful when you have a firm hold on your driver the next time you grip it and rip it.
Before you bend down to put that first tee in the ground, you may want to lean over and touch your toes a time or two. When you go more than a few weeks without making a turn that didn't require a signal, limbering up is a good idea.
"To do it right," says Kinetix Health and Performance Center Owner and Strength Coach Michael Butler, "it's good to see a golf-specific trainer."
If you don't go to the gym before going back to the driving range, Butler says a progressive warm up is best to start getting blood flow to the appropriate muscles. He suggests starting with 15-20 swings with a nine-iron, gradually building up from a 50% swing to a 75% to a 100%. Then you can move on and do the same routine with a 7-iron, 5-iron, and a 3-iron before swinging your woods.
Butler and his team of sports specialists at Kinetix in Palm Desert take golf preparation a step further by putting golfers through a comprehensive postural evaluation, and then developing a golf specific fitness program from their findings.
Butler sees many golfers in the Palm Springs area who do not rotate around the ball properly because, "They're tight in the hips and the lower back. That means the core is not communicating to the muscles," Butler said. "You need to retrain them to do so."
Once you are finally ready to swing away, you'll need to find a place to play.
One of the few drawbacks to golfing in the Palm Springs area is that as soon as the weather cools down, every course in the area closes down to over seed.
The Bermuda grass that thrives in the summer heat goes dormant in cooler temperatures and turns brown. Golfers don't want to play on brown grass during peak season, so every golf course in the desert gets over-seeded with rye grass that thrives and looks beautiful through the end of spring.
It takes about a month to cut back all the Bermuda grass, drop the rye seed and heavily water it until it takes hold and fully grows in.
"The rye grass will stay intact from the start of November through May," Eagle Falls Director of Golf Willie Maples said. "The rye grass naturally burns off and the Bermuda comes through (in May)."
Almost every course in the desert is closed for some part of October due to over seeding. The goal for most is to be open by Nov. 1.
"Some courses have an early start (to over seeding)," Maples said. "You want to wait until you start getting cool nights for the rye grass to take."
Maples said that ideally, over seeding is best done in November when there is little to no chance of a heat wave killing off some of the rye grass but, "Everybody fudges a bit to get it open before Nov. 1. At the best time of year, you need your courses to look the best."