A busy day at the office can lead to a frustrating evening on the golf course. Postures that we use while sitting at a desk or driving in a car can inhibit the athletic movements required for an efficient golf swing by creating physical limitations and restriction. These limitations can lead to injury-producing mechanics or performance-inhibiting swing faults that cannot be fixed by golf drills alone.
That’s why I recommend using these basic, pre-round golf stretches to prepare your body for the game.
Golf Stretch #1: the Hip Flexor Stretch
Tight hip flexors make it difficult to keep the pelvis in neutral position in the golf swing. This neutral position is crucial to creating power and avoiding injury in rotational sports. Stretch your hip flexors by kneeling down on one knee. Tighten the abdominal muscles to avoid arching the low back. Shift your weight forward, maintaining an upright posture until a stretch is felt at the front of the hip. Perform this stretch 2-3 times for 20 seconds on each side.
Golf Stretch #2: Stork Turns
Decreased hip range of motion can lead to excessive lateral movements in the golf swing, such as the sway and slide swing faults. Maintain your hip rotation range of motion by performing stork turns. Stand on one leg while supporting yourself with a golf club for balance. Keep your shoulders square while rotating your hips only around the stance leg. Perform 10-15 stork turns on each leg.
Golf Stretch #3: Pec Stretch
Poor posture due to weakness or poor body mechanics during daily activities can cause tightness in the pectoral muscles. This can limit shoulder range of motion, decrease shoulder turn and make proper set-up posture difficult to achieve. To stretch the pectoral muscles, place your forearm vertically against the edge of a doorway or a golf cart with the elbow at or slightly below shoulder height. Lean forward until a gentle stretch is felt at the front of the shoulder. Perform this stretch 2-3 times for 20 seconds on each side.
Golf Stretch #4: Lat Stretch
To develop desired width and height of the arms in the golf swing without losing posture, your lats and thoracic spine need to have appropriate motion. The prayer stretch is a great way to restore this motion, but while at the golf course, rather than getting down onto the ground, try this standing variation. Grasp the edge of your cart roof with straight arms overhead. Bend at the hips to press the head and chest past your arms until a stretch is felt in the mid back and through the lat muscle. Perform this stretch 2-3 times for 20 seconds. These basic pre-round golf stretches will help prepare your body for a round of golf. If you live in Canton, Massillon or elsewhere in Stark County, Ohio, I invite you to meet our golf fitness professional, who can create a program to fit your needs. Mercy Sports Medicine also offers many other sport-specific and injury-prevention programs.