Stretch Your Way to Better Golf
We’ve heard countless times that it is important to warm up properly up before a round of golf. While stretching is important, it’s what and how you stretch that’s key.
Butch Harmon has a saying: “If you don’t have a target, you’ll hit it every time.” The same holds true with your warm-up; if you don’t have a purpose, you’ll always reach your goal. Before we discuss what we should do, it’s essential to identify the two types of stretching:
- STATIC | Static stretching refers to taking a muscle to a mild stretch and holding it for a period of time. This will improve range of motion, but will not increase core temperature. An example of this would be leaning your head to the left and stretching your neck.
- DYNAMIC | Dynamic stretching refers to active motions that increase speed, range of motion and increase core temperatures. An example of this would be arm circles.
Recent studies have shown that dynamic stretching improves performance, whereas static stretching can actually hinder performance. In fact, static stretching can inhibit high-intensity activities for up to two hours! So, static stretching should be a part of your exercise routine because of its increases in range of motion and flexibility, but they should not be used to warm up for physical activities.
A study conducted by the Titleist Performance Institute compared a group of five individuals who warmed up by only hitting balls to another group of five who completed five minutes of dynamic stretches prior to hitting balls. On average, the players that did no dynamic stretches averaged 148 mph ball speed, whereas the dynamic stretchers averaged 150 mph. Furthermore, the group that only hit balls averaged of 243 yards with a driver compared to 248 yards to the group that stretched. In the era where distance is crucial, a five-yard gain is worth the stretching.
DYNAMIC PRE-ROUND STRETCHES
Purpose: To loosen and warm muscles, loosen joints to allow the body to effectively and athletically swing the golf club.
- While standing tall, hips forward, take a golf club, hold it in one hand, handle down for balance and swing one leg back and forth ten times. Without changing position, now swing your leg side to side. Once complete, switch to the other side.
- While standing tall, take the club with both hands and hold it out in front of your chest. Make sure your shoulders are positioned back, and rotate your upper body to one side while keeping your lower body quiet. Focus on separating your upper and lower body. Do this eight times in both directions.
- Again, standing tall, take the club with both hands and hold it over your head. Go into a deep squat, while pushing up with your heels, lean/stretch to one side. Do this 4 times on each side.
- Take the club in one hand and hold your arm out straight. Now, rotate the club back and forth. This will loosen up your wrists, elbows and shoulders. A 12-count for both arms will suffice.
- While in your golf stance, hold the club across your chest and turn your hips to one side, keeping your upper body quiet. Focus on separating your lower body from your upper body.
Life tends to gets in the way sometimes, limiting the time in which we have to warm up. Hopefully after reading this you will understand the importance of a warm-up and you will adopt this quick routine. Taking five minutes before your play not only prepares your body; it improves its performance.