You’re all set! You’ve done your research on what golf clubs to buy, you went and got fitted, and you even bought some stylish new gold duds to look like a pro when you step up to the tee box. The only problem is, you can’t seem to break 90.
I know the frustration, you feel like you’ve done everything to set yourself up for success, but you can’t get past that next milestone. Golf can be an extremely frustrating sport, especially the more you play. When you first start, you are just happy to be out there, it’s all-new, and you tell yourself the more you play, the better you’ll get, but there comes the point when you’ve played multiple times, and you start to focus on your score. That’s when the frustration begins to creep in. You’ve definitely improved, but you’re still not breaking that all elusive score of 90.
To kick this article off, let’s start at the very beginning of your round and add one thing to your routine before you even step onto the tee box. Warming up properly before you jump onto the course and start swinging. Warming up does not just mean grabbing a small bucket of balls at the driving range; it also includes stretching. I know what you are thinking. How on earth could stretching help my golf game? Well, I’m glad you asked. So, let’s dive into the why’s right now.
A consistent golf swing requires that your body is in a relaxed, tension-free state because a golf swing is highly complicated and involves a series of compound actions that function in an organized sequence to strike a golf ball straight and with accuracy. Remember, all of this happens within a second, and if one of these motions is out of sequence, your shot will suffer. Not only your shot, but your body will suffer.
Remember, your body is the tool that drives the club, and that tool takes the wear and tear with each swing. That’s where having flexibility is so important. Flexibility and strength allow you to hit the ball further and with more accuracy. However, when you strike the ball, a lot of force is applied to your waist, and that impact is over eight times your body weight! Your body has to be able to absorb that over and over again; otherwise, you will start to break down and suffer injuries.
Here are three immediate benefits of stretching:
Lengthen tissue, which allows you to have a greater range of motion, which will take the pressure off your lower back and shoulders.
A stretched and warm muscle has more blood in it, which improves the muscles’ ability to perform.
Stretching removes waste from the tissue, which generally causes inflammation and soreness.
Ok, you’re probably thinking, what does this guy know? I don’t need to stretch! I get it, and that’s why I found a study that was done in 2015 which shows the effects of stretching on the Amateur Golf Swing. I won’t make you read the whole study, so I’ll sum it up for you. The study, which was a 12-week golf-specific stretch program, showed statistical changes in Golfer’s performance, proving that Golfer’s in the study experienced an average improvement of 13yds in driving distance compared to a four yd increase in the control group. That’s 13yds of extra distance without doing anything else to their swing, but wait, there’s more. The study also showed each Golfer saw a 23% increase in accuracy compared to 3% in the control group. Ball speed after impact also increased in the group who routinely stretched: 7% compared to 3% in the non-stretching. I’m sure additional yardage and increased accuracy would help our overall game and probably help lower our scores.
So, now that I’ve dropped the benefits of stretching knowledge on you let’s give you a few stretches that you can do to get the blood flowing.
1. Bent Arm Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch
Stretch your right arm across your chest, bend it at a 90-degree angle, and pull it towards you. Hold the pressure for a few seconds, and repeat with the other arm. This will help loosen your back, arms, and shoulders.
2. Bent Arm Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch
Take your golf stance, then stand up straight. Raise your arms above your head and then bend from your side towards your leg, making sure to stay upright and not tilt forward. Repeat from the other side. This will stretch your obliques, which will help you get that all-important golf swing side bend.
3. Torso Stretch
Take your driver and place it across your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Wrap your arms around the club at either end. Lean slightly back, which will stretch your back muscles. Next, bend side to side so that you loosen up both your side muscles and shoulders. Finally, bend forward to extend your back.
4. Partial Squat
Take your golf club in your hand, and perform a partial squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place the club right in front of you, holding with both hands for balance. Lower your body by bending at the knees, not the hips, while raising the club simultaneously. Raise back up and repeat ten times. It is essential to keep your upper body very erect.
This exercise aims to increase your blood flow and circulation throughout your body. This is a great total body warm-up to allow your body to make a relaxed, comfortable first swing. It also increases the range of motion in your hip, which encourages a more synchronized swing from the ground up.
5. Rotation Twist Stretch
Hold a golf club chest high with the grip at shoulder-width apart. While keeping your feet and hips stable, rotate the club to the right and the left. Try to breathe out on every turn to release tension. Repeat each side ten times.
This stretch will focus on your specific trunk muscles to make an aggressive move from the first tee on. This also prepares proper sequencing of the swing while warming muscles. In addition, this exercise will improve body movements during the swing from the beginning. This way, you will avoid the dreaded miss strikes on the first couple of holes as your body gets warmed up.