Stretching before golf is very important whether at the driving range or course.. Many golfers start their golf game “cold” as a result they struggle to play respectable golf. Why is it that professional golfers recognize the need to stretch properly especially before playing, BUT recreational golfers don’t need to stretch. It just doesn’t make sense!!
A proper stretching and warm-up program should be utilized for maximum performance on the golf course and to decrease the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
Directions for proper stretching:
1. Never bounce when stretching. The muscle will not relax and you could damage the muscle/tendon.
2. Stretching is held 30 seconds
3. The number of reps may vary due to time restraints, no more than 3 reps.
4. You should not experience increased pain with stretching exercises.
5. Ease off and stretch to the edge, also if cramping occurs.
6. Stretching after golf helps to increase your flexibility and decrease soreness.
TRUNK ROTATION: increases the rotational flexibility needed for a full swing. A great stretch for early in the round. The rotation helps warm up the muscles of the back swing and follow through.
Directions: Remain seated in the passenger side of the golf cart. Sit as far back as possible grab the back of the seat with the right arm. Slowly turn your body to the right, grab the arm rest with the left hand. Hold for 30 seconds. Move to the opposite side of the cart and perform the exercise to the left.
SEATED HAMSTRING: Increases flexibility in the muscles at the back of the leg. Excellent for improving balance in your stance. Use this stretch before riding to the driving range or first tee.
Directions: Sit as far back in the seat as possible in the passenger side of the golf cart. Put right foot on the dashboard, keeping your right leg straight, not locked, slowly lean forward with both arms and touch the window. Hold for 30 seconds, slowly release, repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
HIP & GLUT STRETCH: This exercise isolates the large muscles of the golf swing. Excellent stretch for ensuring power in your full golf swing. Use this stretch before and during your round for longer drives and iron shots.
Directions: Sit as far back in the seat as possible in the passenger side of the golf cart and place your right leg on the cart floor. Cross your left foot over your right knee and lean forward slowly. With the left hand push down on the left knee. With the right hand pull up on the ankle. Hold for 30 seconds. and release slowly. Repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
BILATERAL SHOULDER STRETCH: This bilateral stretch improves your golf posture by reversing the negative effects of gravity. Stretching the pectorals and abdominal muscles helps put the body in proper golf alignment. This stretch should be done several times throughout the game while waiting on the tee.
Directions: Stand up straight facing away from the passenger side of the golf cart. Keep head up on the shoulders not on the chest. Reach behind with both hands and hold on tightly to the canopy support. Slowly pull the shoulder blades together while leaning away from the golf cart. Hold for 30 seconds.
UPPER BACK STRETCH: This exercise increases shoulder and upper back flexibility. It counters early and late round postural problems that limit a full shoulder turn.
Directions: Stand facing the golf cart, feet shoulder width apart. Place both hands on top of canopy with your arms fully extended. Slowly lower your head between the arms and bend knees slightly. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
DECOMPRESSION SQUAT: By stretching the muscles of the legs and back, you can add stability and balance to your set-up. This stretch also stretches the muscles in your shoulders and middle back.
Directions: Stand facing the golf cart on the passenger side. Separate feet shoulder width and grab the seat armrest or canopy bar. Bend your knees, extending as far away from the cart as you can, slowly sit down toward the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Trunk Rotation Standing Erect with Golf Club: This exercise increases swing speed and improves golf posture through out the swing stage.
Directions; Stand erect , facing forward with head on shoulders, not chest. Take golf club behind the head and slide down the upper back slightly, (do not allow the golf club to rest on the neck). Exhale, pulling pelvis up level as rotating, rotating head to the side turning. Inhale when returning to starting position. Repeat 6 reps, holding 5 seconds. Repeat 6 reps holding 3 seconds. Repeat 6 reps go back and forth without holding at end ranges.