With golf being widely considered to be one of the safest sports to play, it’s fairly easy to see why this ever-growing sport is perceived to be low-risk since direct contact with other golfers is pretty much non-existent, unlike soccer or basketball for instance. However, as with any type of sport, golf brings a number of different challenges and injury risks to participants. How should golfers go about avoiding golf-related injuries when hitting the irons?
The short answer is: a complete and proper dynamic golf warm-up.
A simple warm-up before your golf athlete hits the first tee essentially helps loosen up the body, gets the blood flow circulating warming up the muscles, and ultimately helps reduce the risk of suffering potential injuries.
Warming Up Versus Stretching
First things first: our belief at The Golf Connector, is that before any type of stretching can take place, we must warm our bodies up first which is paramount to having a solid round of golf whilst also helping us to reduce the risk of an injury.
The aim when warming up is to essentially increase heart rate, enabling blood flow to start circulating. This subsequently increases your body’s core temperature and pumps blood into the muscles where it is needed.
Stretching on the other hand involves lengthening our muscles whilst increasing the joints’ range of motion.
The consequence of failing to warm up adequately before stretching means that there’s a high chance of you straining your muscles due to them still being relatively “cold”. Plenty of research has also supported the conjecture that static stretching before activity significantly reduces muscle power output. Skip the long stretches, and move into a dynamic stretch that still prepares the body for activity. (the exception to this rule is when a muscle is deemed disproportionately short, therefore limiting proper movement. That’s the muscle you hold and stretch—but still, only following an adequate warm-ip)
Which warm-up activities are deemed suitable enough before any stretching takes place?
Here is a list of warm-up ideas to get you started:
- Take a quick 5-minute walk upon arriving at the golf course
- Do a few light squats or lunges
- Have a few practice swings with your golf club a couple of times in slow motion
- If you have more time, resistance bands, and inclination, you can conduct a more intensive preparatory golf warm-up.
As you can see these are just a few simple ideas that you can easily get started with that will provide a quick warm-up, minimizing injuries before you start your round.
Now that we have got our muscles warmed up, let’s take a look at what types of stretching you can incorporate into your routine to help you stay healthy on the course. The following are a few dynamic stretches and mobility exercises that can help minimize the risk of golf injuries.
1 – Start With The Wrists
- Start by extending the arm out in front of you straight ahead with a closed fist.
- Flex the wrist so the knuckles of your closed fist are facing downwards and hold it there for a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Next, extend the wrist so that your knuckles are now facing upwards and again hold it there for a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Now, you will want to move your wrist up and down 10 times while keeping your arm out extended and your fist closed still.
- Finally, switch arms and do the same with your opposite wrist.
2 – The Forearm Stretch
- Start by extending out the right forearm.
- Next, take the right hand and begin pulling back on the fingers which will stretch them. By doing this, blood flow will now begin to circulate.
- Begin pushing the palm of the right hand forward away from the forearm, in essence, holding the same position in place without the help of the other hand.
- Hold this stretch for anywhere between 5-20 seconds.
- Switch arms and repeat the process.
3 – Arm Circles
This qualifies more as a warm-up, than a stretch!
- Begin by putting both arms out to the sides, both feet pointing forwards, whilst the shoulder blades are retracted.
- Rotate the arms in a circular movement while maintaining a golfer’s grip.
- Perform 10-15 reps with palms facing downwards whilst circling forward.
- Next, rotate the palms up and do another 10-15 reps circling arms backward.
Top Tip – Start off with 5-10 reps of small circular movements forward and backward. Then, do another 5-10 reps with larger circular movements forwards and backward.
4 – Dynamic Shoulder Stretch
- Start with a golfer’s grip and place knuckles on the temples with thumbs pointing down.
- Begin touching the elbows together in front of the chest. This movement improves scapular mobility.
- Perform between 10-15 reps.
#5 – Hamstring Stretch
- Begin by taking two golf clubs and position both of clubs in front of the body facing downwards resting on the ground.
- Next, move the right foot forward and left foot back while keeping them in line with each other.
- Lean into the front leg by hinging at the hip socket whilst keeping your back straight. (Tension should be felt in the hamstring).
- Once the hamstring starts to feel taut, stop and lift up the toe of the front foot. This should increase tension in the back of the knee and thigh. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
- Stand up slowly, change legs, and repeat.
Top Tip – Make sure when lifting up the toe, your client is breathing in and out. Oxygen is essential for the muscles work; holding breath may increase the tension in the back of the legs.
Final Thoughts on Practicing a Golf Warm-up
These are just a few simple warm-up exercises that are significantly important if your golfing clients wish to reduce the risk of injuries.
Encourage your golfers to give a few of these simple exercises a try before starting their game; the time will be well worth the investment, evidenced by improved performance and fewer injuries. These golf warm-up exercises will not only loosen up the body in preparation for a round, but will also improve range of motion and potentially help hit the ball farther.
Lee Dixon is an avid golf fanatic and content writer at The Golf Connector. On a typical workday, he’ll be found researching all the latest golf news and releases. He enjoys being able to share his knowledge and passion for golf through his writing and content that is pleasant to read and easy to digest. In his free time, you’ll undoubtedly find him on the green enjoying a round of golf whilst sharing his knowledge with his playing partners.