Summer has arrived, but are you ready? Is your game in good enough shape to set yourself for a great summer of golf? Here are some tips to prepare yourself for your best season yet.

1. Clean out your golf bag
Now is the time to tip the golf bag upside down, toss out those manky gloves, crumpled scorecards, bottle tops, chocolate bar wrappers and beaten up balls & tees. Maybe the bag needs replacing? Give it a wipe over, re-stock it and you’re ready for the big Summer ahead.

2. Change your cleats
Arguably, this should have been done at the beginning of winter – but I’m guessing you didn’t. So do it now. The ground should soon be drying up and lessening the need for new cleats, but a firm support is required for a good golf swing no matter what the season. The Pro-Shop staff can take care of this for you.

3. Get new grips
While not a guarantee for lower scores, the golf club grips are often overlooked. Ask the pro shop staff if your clubs need new grips. It’s often cheaper than you expect and will make sure there is no need to grip the club too tightly during your golf swing.

4. Dress for success
Keep cool and protected from the harsh Summer UV rays. Invest in cooling arm sleeves, lightweight breathable clothing, a hat, chapstick for dry lips and plenty of sunscreen. Keep those pesky flies from adding strokes to your game with a quick spray of Aeroguard. All these items available from the Pro Shop.

5. Do you have the right clubs for YOU?
We’re not suggesting you should go out and buy yourselves a brand new set of golf clubs for the summer – but it is worthwhile making sure that the clubs you’re using suit your swing and stature. Ask the Pros to check your clubs. You may be using the wrong shafts for example. A Pro will tell you if you have any large distance gaps in your arsenal too. You may also need to swap that iron for a more forgiving hybrid club.

6. Get fit, get flexible
Ever play a round of golf only to find you’re knackered for the rest of the day? Walking 18 holes not only requires a certain degree of fitness but to make sure your game doesn’t suffer due to fatigue late in your round it’s wise to be even fitter. But don’t just get fit and increase strength – make sure you’re flexible too. If you want that McIlroy-like shoulder turn perhaps you should start the stretching, yoga or pilates classes immediately!

7. Get a lesson
Any time is a good time to get a golf lesson but the start of summer is ideal. Get Jason, Cliffy, Leigh or Matt to analyse your swing and knock out those winter cobwebs before the summer sunshine truly breaks through. Book in a follow-up lesson as soon as the first one is finished. It’ll make you practice what you’ve just learned.

8. Practice properly
There is a large body of evidence suggesting that just beating lots of golf balls at the range isn’t a very effective way of practising. You’re better off employing a random practice routine (playing different shots with different shapes, using different clubs) instead of hitting the same shot with the same club over and over. Practice your golf game as if you are on the golf course. Hit driver, followed by a chip out of the trees, followed by a pitch on to the green. If you miss a shot, make sure you return to it later to make sure you get it right.

9. Practice your putting
By all means, play lots of rounds and hit lots of balls, but don’t forget your short game – particularly your putting. Spend a good couple of hours at least on the putting green. It can be unexciting but stick with it.

10. Spend some time on the short game
If there is one aspect of golf you simply can’t expect to be any good at without practising, it’s the short game. It’s the place where you can turn bad rounds into good rounds, and good rounds into great rounds. The good news is that if you practice your short game, you’re almost certain to get better at it. Lock in some time around the practice green now.

11. Pre-round warm-up and stretch
If you’re in the majority of golfers who simply turn up to a golf course, hit a few practise putts and tee it up – change this now. Find out the best warm-up exercises to do before a round and make sure you are at the course in time to do them.

12. Get a pre-shot routine
If you don’t have a pre-shot routine, get one. And drum it in until it’s a habit. Pick the shot, pick the club, pick a target, maybe a practice swing and pull the trigger. Same thing, every shot, every week. From the driver right down to the putter.

Jason Hart