Before you even hit a ball…

When heading out to play or practice, many of us take a few practice swings and start hitting balls. This is can turn out to be a big mistake!  Golfers are athletes. Warming up your body is just as important as stretching before a soccer or basketball game. While golf may seem fairly relaxed, the golf swing is very complex and involves the entire body.

Here are a few stretches I like to do before a few practice swings:

-  Hamstring stretch: You can do this by propping your foot up on a bench or the golf cart and reach for your toes, or just simply grab your club and reach down towards your toes (this is just a simple toe touch). Hold these stretches for 10-15 seconds.

-  Stretch the hips: Simply cross your leg on top of the other and push your knee down until you feel a good stretch (make sure to keep your back upright and your ankle on top of your knee).

- Loosen the shoulders: Grab a golf club and hold it a little wider than shoulder width apart. Hold it behind your back and try and lift upward, you will feel this stretch in the front of your shoulders.  After that, set the club on your shoulders behind your head and rotate your shoulders back and forth. This stretch warms up your shoulders as well as your back.

-Don’t forget the forearms: This is the easiest of them all.  Just hold your hand out in front of you and pull your palm toward you, one hand at a time. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds.  Next, do the same stretches downward; just push the top of your hand downward.

- Twists: Place your club behind your shoulders, twist at the waist.  Then, get into a golf stance (while keeping the club behind your shoulders) and twist back and forth from this position.

These are some simple, but important, stretches that take very little time.  Next time you go out to the course try these stretches and see what happens!

Golf Stretches You Should Know About!

Before you strike a golf ball, it is important to remember to stretch! Why? Well, consider this:

  • - Before you even begin swinging, many of your muscles are under a lot of stress (think of the position of your body at address).
  • - Also consider you are about to swing a club at  80+ mph, while maintaining this seemingly awkward position.
  • - Plus, stretching decreases your chance of injury and helps promote a more fluid golf swing.

I love this quick video from EliteStretching: Stretches for Women Golfers.  Take a look and give these easy stretches a try the next time you step up to the tee box.

Do you have any other stretches you do before or after a round of golf?  Let our readers know!

Golf Season Warm Up

driving rangeFor those of us up north, the sun is shining and the temperatures are finally above freezing. The snow is beginning to melt away, exposing golf courses and getting our hopes up to be ready to hit the links soon. But, before we head out for our first 18 holes of the season, we all need to try these tips to ease into our golf game:

Get fit.
Golf might not be the most strenuous or demanding sport, but you do need to be in shape if you plan to haul your bag full of golf clubs for a round of 18. As weather permits, head out for a run. Or, fire up the DVD player and give Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred a try. If you want to take it to another level, try the P90X® workout DVD.

Stretch it out. Start loosening up your muscles now. Yoga or basic stretches will get your muscles prepped and ready to go.

Start swinging.
Head to a driving range and start practicing. Work on your consistency and get a feel for what you are capable of doing with each club. Continue to practice your swing even at home with some foam or whiffle golf balls. You might not get the perfect feel for how long your shot is, but it will work to develop muscle memory which will definitely help when you finally do step up to that first tee box.

Start warming up now and you’ll be ready to hit the course in no time. And, if you work hard enough, your first round might even surprise yourself.

Have you played a round yet this year? If so, let us know how it went.

Golfers are Athletes!

Golf tournaments have become super competitive. To join the winner’s circle you now have to really consider all aspects of the game. Your endurance and strength can make a difference between finishing in the top 20 or the top 5. Remember the (annual) rain delays at the Optimist International at PGA National? So often, we had to play 28+ holes in a day to make up for lost time. So how do you stay on top in a tournament like that when you are tired and dragging after 18 holes?

AJGA in Mexico

AJGA in Mexico

In addition to doing short game drills and honing the swing, fitness has become a high priority for golfers. I first saw this focus on training at the Genuity PGA Championship tournament at Doral Golf Club in Miami. As a young junior, I got to watch the professionals during the practice days before the tournament. After their rounds, the gym at the Doral was packed with players. I remember watching with interest as Vijay Singh dripped with sweat, while throwing a medicine ball with his caddie outside the pro-shop.

Top LPGA players, and those striving to make it, take their fitness training in the weight room very seriously. In a USA Today feature of the 10 toughest athletes, Annika Sorenstam was ranked #7 (she can do 15 pull ups!).  Look at the role fitness plays in elite golf. Every collegiate team I know of has a year-round strength coach. Teams are becoming stronger, gaining endurance and developing more stamina for the rounds. We golfers are athletes! To those who beg to differ, try carrying a 25+ pound bag for 18, 27 or 36 holes!

So if you are a budding golfer or an experienced one, try a focus on fitness to improve your game. We will keep you posted on our favorite golf workout routines.  Are you already a golfer athlete? What exercises have helped improve your game?