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Golf Techniques - Stretch, Don't Strain

Mar 20, 2008
It's that time of year when we start getting out on the course again after the winter layoff, unless you are a sucker for punishment like me and play all year round. Because we have these long breaks it is very easy to injure yourself when you go back out onto the course. It's a lovely Spring day, the sun is shining and you feel great - until you hit that first drive and your back goes. You must add a warm up routine to your armory of golf techniques. A few minutes spent warming up and stretching your body means you won't have to spend precious weeks recovering when you could be playing.

There are golfers who claim to play their best golf when they are carrying an injury simply because they are not focusing as much on their game as protecting themselves from further injury, so they concentrate and play better. You don't have to be injured to concentrate! An injury will not help your game in the long run, particularly if it is a recurring problem. It will end up with you having to give up the game we all love so much. What should you do to reduce the chance of golfing injuries that might stop you playing the game?

First of all you should try to keep your level of general fitness up over any layoff period. Regular walks and stretching exercises will do that without too much effort or disruption to your lifestyle. The fitter you are the better you will cope with the rigours of a full round on that new monster 7,000 yard plus course you just heard about. Your best fitness regime will promote flexibility and suppleness. It doesn't matter how old or unfit you are, you can easily improve your ease of movement with just a few simple exercises.

It is a wise golfer who warms up and gently stretches his or her muscles before starting a round, and it is equally important to cool down properly after your game. Just a few stretches after a round of golf can help in preventing any injuries, particularly to the back and hamstrings. Walking can tighten your hamstrings and that makes them more susceptible to tearing and injury. A good golf swing also requires a lot of back movement and if you haven't warmed up properly before your first swing, you could do some severe damage.

Even before your practice swings you should start with a few stretches, and when you do those exercises ensure you don't make any sudden movements. All your movements should be smooth and flowing, just like your golf swing. Make sure that you are never tempted to 'bounce' when you are doing your stretches as this can result in a strain or sprain on an overworked or twisted muscle. A few gentle side twists with one of your long irons across your shoulders will help to warm up your lower back and add mobility. Holding a club out in front of you with one hand and just swinging gently from side to side adds a little more rotation to your hips. One of my favourite exercises is just to hold a club parallel to the ground in both hands and just drip gently forward form the waist which really loosens up those big muscles in the top of your legs. I usually follow that with a few lunges to stretch my calf muscles too.

Once you have loosened up make some practice swings before you start hitting the warm up shots on the range. Start with your short irons and work your way up to your driver. That way you won't be pushing those muscles to produce the long swing and big hit until they are properly warmed up.

We all know that this simple golf tip will really help our game so why not set off for the course just that few minutes early and warm up properly. Most of us arrive at the course with ten minutes to Tee Off time and don't take those precious few moments that will make all the difference to the quality of our game.
About the Author
BQ Browning grew up in a Golfing family and has been involved with the game for many years. News views and information are willing shared with fellow addicts at Golf Techniques and Tournament Tips. You will find a treasure trove of golf information written with wit, humour and wisdom.
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