Keep Things Loose

Warming up and stretching should be part of all golfers’ regimens to avoid injuries down the road

British Open champion Darren Clarke knows the importance of properly stretching before the round.
British Open champion Darren Clarke knows the importance of properly stretching before the round.

Your tee time is at 9:40. You leave the house at 9:05. You enter the course’s parking lot at 9:25. You pay your green fee at 9:35. You’re on the tee. You’re an accident waiting to happen.

By not warming up and stretching your muscles and joints, your body could rebel and your score might suffer, or vice versa. Golf is a game that causes a lot of wear and tear on a lot of different areas of your physique. Not getting all parts of your body ready to play is foolish on a number of levels. From head to toe, you need to be prepared mentally and physically. So get moving. Here’s some help.

A half hour is the suggested warm-up time for golfers, but if you’re always running late, here are a few tips:
• Park as far from the clubhouse as possible. The brisk walk will help you get loose.
• Use the golf cart as your stretch pole while waiting for the starter. Focus on your shoulders, back and neck.
• Hit a few putts to help focus the mind on what you’re about to do – play golf. Quickly hitting a few balls is often a mindless task and therefore unhelpful.
PGA Director of Golf Instruction, Golf Academy of America

Before you stretch it’s important to warm up to avoid injuries. This routine will help:
• Stand with your arms bent at the elbow so the palms are facing down. Jog in place for 30 seconds, with the last 10 seconds raising your knees high enough to touch your palms.
• Stand with your knees and waist slightly bent. Rotate your arms in small circles for 20 seconds to warm and stretch the muscles simultaneously.
• Grab each end of your driver and, behind your head, rotate left to right and back again for 30 seconds.
Head Golf Professional, Lost Canyons Golf Club

Stretching is important and doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Here are three stretches that can be done in less than five minutes:
• With your legs as straight as possible, touch your toes with your hands to stretch your hamstrings and lower back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times.
• Clasp your hands behind your back and reach toward the sky. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times. This loosens your shoulders, chest and upper back.
• To stretch your legs and torso, hold a club against your lower back and slowly make simulated swings. Hold the backswing and follow-through positions for five seconds each and repeat three times.
PGA Head Golf Professional, Mission Viejo Country Club

Here’s a quick way to get loose before a round. Do three sets of eight repetitions for each stretch. If you don’t have a stretching pole, a driver will do the trick.
• Hold the pole or club with your hands 45-50 inches apart. Straighten your arms and move them over your head and behind your back. Repeat in the opposite direction. As the movement becomes easier, move your hands in about an inch.
• With your arms above your head, bend at your side to the right and then back to the left.
As this gets easier, move into a lunge position and bend in both directions.
Former PGA Tour Player, Kris Moe Golf Schools

The idea in golf is to be as elastic as possible so your body can coil and uncoil. Therefore, it’s important that your entire physique is ready for the rigors of a round. These exercises will get your body properly warmed up before heading to the range and the first tee:
• Walk continuously for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Do half squats to loosen the quadriceps and gluteus muscles.
• Do a series of calf raises.
• Gently rotate your torso back and forth with arms extended to the side.
• Roll your shoulders in both directions.
PGA Director of Golf, Escena Golf Club

A warm-up routine that’s quick, to the point and improves your balance and mobility is crucial. You can accomplish this by incorporating dynamic, golf-specific drills into your pre-round activities. Perform one set of 10 repetitions with good speed for these three:
• Stand on your right leg and swing your left leg from side to side in front of your body. Don’t allow your standing leg to sway through the movement.
• Get in an athletic position, grab a club and hold it shoulder high with one hand at the hosel and the other at the grip. Rotate right and left through the trunk without allowing the hips to follow.
• Get in the same position and hold the club the same way as the previous exercise. Make a full body turn by pivoting on your left foot and turning to the right. Repeat to the left while pivoting on your right foot.
RFK Training, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness instruction

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