How important is pre game stretching to your performance?

As I get older, my muscles not only need more time to recover after walking 18 holes, but they also need more time to get ready for that 5 mile walk. Most non-golfers think that we are nothing more than wannabe athletes. While that might be the case for some, the rest of us know how wrong that assumption is. In the past I have never been one to stretch a whole lot. That’s not to say that I never stretched, just that it wasn’t a high priority. Now however, a good stretch not only prepares me for 18 holes, but helps me to not be in as much pain after the 4-5 hour walk.

Muscles used in Golf

The golf swing comprises four elements – the back swing, downswing, ball strike and follow-through. The physics are pretty simple. More club head speed=longer shots. (Newtons’ 3rd law of physics) Longer shots with control=less strokes used to get the ball in the hole. There you have it…Golf 101. In order to pull this off, the following muscles are important. Core muscles are used to torque your body and increase club head speed. Your hamstring muscles help maintain proper posture. Then, your quadriceps help to flex your knees and keep them flexed throughout the swing. The upper back muscles are important for both, rotation of your trunk during your backswing and for maintaining your spine angle. In order to get your upper body positioned properly your shoulder muscles must be prepared to take charge. In transition, they also help to generate the speed needed to maximize distance. Of particular interest here are the rotator cuff muscles, as they seem to degenerate faster than other muscles in the area. Strong forearm muscles are used in conjunction with the wrist muscles to control the orientation of the club and then snap through the impact zone in a final attempt to gain speed and power. The fingers and wrists are of particular importance to the fine art of putting, as they aid in developing a repeatable stroke.

The Benefits of a Golf Stretching Routine

Golfers often complain, as other athletes do as well, of muscle strain and fatigue. If you develop a regular golf stretching routine, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Loose muscles help us to relax. The last thing you need as you step on the first tee is to be tense and anxious. Increased confidence and better performance will be a result of loose muscles and a relaxed frame of mind.
  • Playing golf is like eating. It's something which has to come naturally. – Sam Snead

  • At first, stretching hurts, but, over time, it will become easier and more beneficial to your overall wellness. Your range of motion will improve dramatically.
  • Stretching can aid in the prevention of:
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Knee tendinitis
  • Musculotendinous overuse injuries
  • Most importantly, stretching just makes you feel better. Talk with somebody who stretches and they will tell you how they feel if they don’t stretch prior to, and after golf.
    I suggest that, before you enter into a stretching routine, discuss exactly what you want to do with your family doctor. He/she will let you know if there might be any detrimental effects of what you are proposing to do. Whatever you do, do it right. Injuries can occur from exercises and stretching if not done properly.