Last minute obligations at home or work have made you arrive at the golf course later than planned. You come racing into the golf course parking with barely enough time to change your shoes, grab your golf clubs, check in and head for the first tee. Your best intentions of a pre-game warm-up routine will need to be modified.
Stretching will help prepare your joints, muscles and tendons to maximize their range of motion and to be able to function in the most energy-efficient and safest manner. The following is a condensed pre-swing stretching program that should be performed prior to hitting balls at the practice range or playing golf.
Hamstring stretch: Hold the hosel of a golf club against your tailbone with one hand and the shaft against your spine and back of your head with your other hand. Maintain the club in this position and your knees straight while you bend forward at the hips until a stretch is felt in the back of your thighs. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat it 5 times.
Hip External Rotators stretch: Stand with your left leg crossed in front of your right leg. Bend your right knee and hip into a partial squat position. Turn your chest/shoulders to the right until a stretch is felt in your right hip/buttock. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat it 5 times. Repeat the stretch on your other hip. You may need to hold onto a golf cart or bench to maintain your balance.
Rotation in your Address Posture: While staying in your address posture and holding a golf club across the back of your shoulder blades, practice rotating at the hips and trunk simulating a full backswing to a partial follow through without raising your body up throughout the movement. Pause for 3 seconds at both end ranges. Perform 15 repetitions ensuring proper address posture.
Wrist Flexors/Extensors Stretch: Hold a golf club out in front of your body with your palms down, elbows straight and hands at shoulder height and width. Bend your wrists down and hold for 10 seconds then bend your wrists up and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat these stretches 5 times.
Simulated Full Swings: Hold 2 short irons together with the back of the more lofted club head resting against the face of the less lofted club head. Take 10-15 half speed full arc swings in your proper address posture advancing to 10-15 three quarter speed swings. Then take some full arc swings with only one club advancing from ¾ to full speed.
A golfer who has not warmed up properly has to make more movement compensations to swing and is likely to perform below their ability and possibly suffer an injury. Please contact Patrick Sheehy, MS, PT at Optimal Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in Cranberry Twp., PA 724-779-1300 if you have any questions or would like a free telephone consultation on our proven golf enhancement program. We specialize in detecting and correcting the physical limitations that are causing your golf swing compensations and have decreased many clients’ handicaps and added distance and ball striking consistency to their game.