Did you play golf today? If you live in an area where it’s cold and snowy in winter, chances are you didn’t. Like many golfers who live in these areas, you’ve probably put your clubs away for the year. Club pros in these areas don’t give a lot of golf lessons during this time either.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your game. Winter is a great time to boost physical conditioning so when you start playing again, you’re in good shape. That helps cut down on injuries. Stretching should be part of ever golfer’s workout routine—as we tell students in our golf instruction sessions.
We detailed five stretching exercises in a previous article. All five help increase flexibility. The five stretches below continue this effort. All five are golf specific stretches. Increasing your flexibility will help you avoid injuries next season and add yards off the tee.
Lunge With Rotation
This exercise not only increases flexibility in your hips. It also enhances your ability to turn your torso over a stable body. Kneel down in a lunge position. Hold a club out in front of you about shoulder height. Keep your posture upright. And turn slowly left five times and then right five times. Return to your starting position and switch legs. Repeat the turns.
This stretches helps golfers with lower back problems. Students in our golf lessons recommend it. Lie flat on the ground. Grab a strap or belt in your right hand and wrap the other end around your right foot. Extend the right leg up. Hold for 10 breaths. Place the leg to the right for another 10 breaths. Keep the connection of the left side of your body to the floor. Switch the strap to your left hand. Turn your torso as your right leg turns to the left. Hold for 10 breaths. Switch legs. Repeat the exercise with left leg.
This is an oldie but goody. It stretches out the side muscles of your core. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Make sure they’re about shoulder width apart. Keep your hips facing forward. Lift your left hand straight up. Now stretch it as far as you can over your head to the right. Hold the stretch for 10 breaths. Now repeat with your right arm. Bend it over your head to the left. Hold for 10 breaths.
Playing golf can strain your neck. Neck injuries can throw your whole swing off and maybe prevent you from playing altogether. If you have neck discomfort, this stretch is for you.
Turn your head to the left. Hold for a count of two. Turn your head to the right. Hold for a count of two. Repeat. Bend your head forward until your chin touches your neck. Hold for a count of two. Straighten up. Then bend for a count of 2 again.
Return to a straight up position. Touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold for count of two. Touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for a count of two. Repeat. Do three sets of this stretch.
Reaching Down Stretch
This is a good exercise to stretch your triceps. Grasp your hands together. Reach them behind your head. Try to stretch them down your back as far as you go. Make sure your elbows are pointing straight up. Hold this position for 5 breaths. Repeat the exercise 3 times.
Perform flexibility exercise 4 times per week for 10 to 15 minutes. Walking first enhances the stretch. Doing stretches with a friend or golf partner can increase your motivation. It can also prevent boredom. And that, we tell students in our golf lessons, is the key to maintaining a good exercise regimen.
Doing Yoga is also a great way to increase flexibility. Katherine Roberts, a Golf Magazine Fitness Expert panel member and regular contributor to the Golf Channel, has a Website devoted to Yoga for golfers. If you prefer Yoga to stretching, check it out here.