If you rock up to the first tee ready for three or four hours on the golf course after ZERO preparation, we're going to make a bold prediction... your round likely won't end well.
'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail' as the old saying goes.
Sure, you might get the odd occasion when you hit the first tee with zero prep and the hangover from hell before proceeding to put together a pretty solid round. In our experience though, you simply can't expect to play your best golf without some sort of pre-round preparation.
Below we list a few boxes for you to check to help turn your next 18 holes into the round of your dreams.
Plan your round the night before
If you take the time to preview the golf course the night before your round - particularly when you're teeing up at a new track - you could avoid potential card-wrecking disasters.
That's where the Course Preview function of your Hole19 app can help.
You'll see the course layout and yardages at a glance without needing to start a round. Distance arcs will show you the remaining yardage to each green, and you can gauge the position of key hazards from tee to green.
If you're a Premium user, you can utilise the Notes feature on particularly tricky holes to remind yourself of your preferred club selection and general strategy.
Clean those clubs
Golf clubs are an investment so you’ll want to make sure you maintain them if you want them to last a long time. Cleaning them is also important from a performace aspect.
While your golfing abilty is of prime importance, having a clean set of clubs can also help your golf game and provide you with real gains on the golf course. If you arrive with clubs caked in mud, you're robbing yourself of both consistency and control.
Pack your snacks
Being well-fuelled and nicely hydrated aids concentration and decision-making throughout your round.
The importance of a good hearty breakfast (or lunch depending on your tee-time) can't be overemphasised. As well as that, having a selection of slow energy-releasing snacks and drinks in your golf bag is imperative.
We've all felt those hunger signs as we round the turn, so if you start to view your food and drink as fuel while eating little and often throughout the round, you'll likely score better.
Get a good night's sleep
We all lead busy lives these days. Some of us may work longer hours trying to eek every ounce of productivity out of our days. Others might overindulge a little at the weekends. In short, the stresses and strains of modern life can keep us from our recommended eight hours of sleep.
You can't perform at your best if you turn up at the first tee displaying signs of sleep drunkenness. Golf requires focus. Poor sleep means poor focus. Ergo, sleep is your friend.
Get to the course early
If you're going to follow the steps below, you'll need to arrive at the golf course at least 30-40 minutes before your tee time. A relaxed arrival can translate into a relaxed approach to the rest of your day.
Don't be that guy who's sprinting to the first tee, puffing and panting, after pulling into the car park two minutes before his scheduled tee time.
Stretch it out
We all should stretch before hitting at the range or on the first tee box. Sure, as we get older, we might need to loosen up more to stave off possible injury, but a pre-round stretch will help every golfer limber up regardless of age.
It'll make a difference to how you swing each club, and your chances of splitting the fairway with your first tee shot will skyrocket.
Hit some balls
After you've warmed up correctly, the next box to tick is hitting a few balls at the range.
Importantly, this isn't time for you to work on figuring out problems with your swing. Ideally you'll have worked through those issues earlier in the week. Rather, it'll help you get loosened up, work on your distances and maybe even a shot shape that will serve you well through 18 holes.
Try and work your way through the bag. Hit a few wedges, a few irons and all the way up to your driver.
Spend time on the short game
If the course has a short play area, get creative and tackle a variation of golf shots. Nail a couple of 'bump and runs', hit a few lob shots from the short side and try to escape from different lies in the bunker.
If you're short on time, putting practice must be at the top of your list of pre-round prep. Practice a few knee-knockers, a couple of putts within makeable range and don't forget to work on your lag putting.
You don't want to be working on your pace control on the third or fourth green.
Know (and follow) your strategy
We've come full circle with this final tip. Hopefully you'll have followed our first step of planning your round the night before. Now's the time to take a final look over that strategy and stay true to it through the 18 holes.
If you can be this thorough and thoughtful in your preparation - and couple it with practice between rounds - great scores will undoubtedly follow.