By Gordon Penner, BScKin
If you have attended any recent sporting events you have most likely seen athletes warming up prior to starting the game. They are probably jogging around the field or skating around the rink, going through the motions that replicate their sport specific movement patterns.
A proper warm-up is essential to performing at an optimal level when playing any sport, and golf is no exception. Unfortunately most golfers I see at the golf club do a haphazard warm up at best; many skip the warm up altogether. Weekend warriors race to the golf course throw their golf shoes on, run to pay their green fees and sprint to the first tee. They may take a couple of swings through the air with little to no purpose and then step up to the tee only to slice the ball into the trees. This proceeds for the next 3-5 holes until the body is finally warmed up, and finally they play at their normal skill level. At the end of the round you regret playing so poorly on the first few holes and think: “If I only had spent some time to warm up or hit some balls before I started it would have been a great round”.
If you are like most amateur golfers you are limited for time. You just dropped off your kids at their friend’s house or are squeezing a round of golf in between other important appointments. You love the game, but don’t fully enjoy yourself when you play poorly especially when you start your round poorly. In a perfect world the golfer should arrive an hour or two prior to their tee time, perform some dynamic stretches, practice their putting, hit 50-60 balls on the range utilizing visualization techniques to hit an assortment of different shots that the course they are playing will require, hit some chips out of the rough and sand and return to the putting green prior to hitting the first tee. We don’t all have that amount of free time so here are a few strategies to perform a proper golf warm up and prime the body quickly prior to your next round.
The best way to prepare the body for the stress of the dynamic movements during the golf swing is to warm up with dynamic stretching. Simply put, dynamic stretching is actively moving through the full range of motion of a joint. Dynamic stretching signals the neuromuscular skeletal system to begin priming the muscles by increasing oxygen flow and blood to the muscles and preparing the body for movement.
Before your next round of golf, spend 5-10 minutes warming up. Below is a sample of dynamic stretches you can do to prepare for your golf game.
– 30 seconds of arm circles forward and backward progressively getting larger on each arm
– 15-20 arm swings across your body
-15-20 leg swings forward and backward, you can use a golf club to help you balance on one leg if required. It is best if you can perform the leg swings without the golf club to prime your balance as well
-15-leg swings across your body. Most individuals will require the use of a golf club to balance
-15-20 truck rotations holding the golf club behind your shoulders rotating in the golf position simulating your golf swing.
-30 seconds of jumping jacks
-Swing progressions. Starting with slow swings gradually working your way up to your full swing
Ideally each golfer should have a warm up individually designed for them to prime the muscles that are most limited prior to their round of golf and prepare their specific body for their round.
In the instance that you are still late for your tee time you can always walk to the first tee, hit your ball into the trees and perform walking lunges all the way to your ball. It is not the best warm up, but it will do and if anything, make you think about arriving earlier next time.
Gordon is a graduate of the University of the Fraser Valley and has been a local golfer for the past 12 years. As a certified TPI Fitness Professional and Kinesiologist at Ascend Fitness Inc., Gordon helps golfers in Chilliwack improve their game and golf injury free. For more information, go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.
The Importance of Warming Up Prior to Hitting the First Tee
By Gordon Penner, BScKin