As Spring approaches, thoughts turn. For golf in the southwest, February teases us with a few good days and March is a mixture of cold and warmth. April though is always around the corner and the course is turning green and your thoughts are of woods off the tee instead of more wood on the fire.

Make this year a quick start by concentrating on tune ups, tone ups and warm ups.

Start getting your tune ups now. See your PGA Professional for that initial lesson of the year. Set a game plan for improvement with your instructor. Concentrate on all phases of the game with specific goals and recommendations.

Don’t neglect your tone ups, either! Rid your body of that last holiday festivity. Concentrate on your lower back with sit ups to strengthen your stomach muscles. The stronger your stomach muscles are, the better your lower back.

Walk, run, ride a stationary or moving bicycle to improve, strengthen and tone your legs. If you have stairs in your home, a few vigorous trips up and down for a period of time can be quit beneficial.

For your shoulders, use light (5-8 pounds) dumbbells for a couple of recommended exercises. First, stand beside your bed and put one knee up on the bed. In the opposite hand hold a dumbbell and repeatedly pull your arm up to your chest. Start with 10 – 15 repetitions and then repeat with the other arm. Secondly, take both dumbbells and lift them with your arms straight until your arms are parallel to the level of your shoulders.

Warm ups are always important. A few of my favorites can be done to focus on your legs, shoulders, and back. For your shoulders, extend your arms at shoulder height, face your palms to the ground and point your thumbs forward and rotate your arms in a circle towards the direction your thumbs. Do this for a count of 30. Face your palms skyward and your thumbs backwards and repeat in the opposite direction.

For your legs and lower back, lay on the floor with one leg extended and cross the other leg putting the foot flat on the ground next to the knee of your extended leg. Let your knee slowly drop to the ground as your shoulders stay flat on the ground. Try and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat for the other leg.

For your shoulders and upper back, take a short (8 or 9) or mid (5 or 6) iron and hold the head in one hand and the butt end of the grip in the other and hold it parallel to the ground. Make your normal backswing turn and hold it for 8 -10 seconds, inhale deeply and slowly exhale. Turn 2 more inches and hold that position for another 8 – 10 count. Move slowly through your downswing and follow through and hold your finish position for 8-10 seconds. Inhale deeply and slowly exhale and turn 2 more inches and hold for another 8-10 count.

These are only a few of the stretches I do before playing or hitting warm up shots. My goal is to be able to hold each stretch 90 seconds!

As with any exercise program, consult your physician first! Use these tone ups and warm ups to condition your body. Use the tune up with your PGA Professional to condition your swing and mind. Make this your best year of golf ever!

Good Luck!