If you’re like most golfers out there, one of your goals is probably to play the game for as long as possible. To do that, you must focus on flexibility and mobility alongside regular workouts to avoid common golf injuries, especially as you age.
We’ve covered the best golf exercises, but today want to focus on the stretching side of things. Strength is important, but flexibility is arguably even more important, as the golf swing is taxing on many muscle groups and the body in general.
So, where do you start? Many golfers ask questions such as:
- What stretches should you do before golfing?
- How can I improve my flexibility?
- When should I stretch for golf? Before or after my round?
These are all great questions and ones we’ll answer today so you can stay healthy, avoid injuries and improve your athletic longevity.
Benefits of Stretching in Golf
Do you warm up properly before the round? Or, are you like most golfers who head straight from the car to the course (or worse, straight to the first tee without hitting a single ball)?
Tom Hemmings, a fitness instructor, described the everyday golfer’s routine perfectly in a Golf Digest article.
“Effective warm-up routines are rare for most golfers. Instead, most arrive at the golf course, pound a few dozen balls on the range and roll up to the first tee—which is a recipe for injury and a decrease in performance on both golf and overall movement patterns within your body.”
To play your best golf, warming up your muscles should be a necessary part of your routine.
The Unsung Hero of Athletic Flexibility
Stretching is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your golf game, especially if you’re a senior golfer. Stretching more (particularly your hips) is vital to keep playing at a high level as your flexibility decreases with age.
Here are three compelling reasons to make stretching a top priority.
Golf injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, especially in the lower back area. If you’ve ever had back issues, you know that swinging a golf club at high speeds can result in even more painful injury.
However, many major golf injuries – specifically in the lower back – can be avoided with proper stretching. A good stretching routine can also help improve posture and reduce muscle strain, which will help on and off the course.
Improve Range of Motion
If you want to hit it longer than ever as courses continue to lengthen, you need speed. But you can’t generate a ton of speed if your body physically won’t allow you to do so.
Regular stretching can help improve your lower and upper body rotation. This can help you create more lag, more speed, and ultimately gain more distance. Plus, it can help you get more gains out of your gym routines.
Play Better Earlier in the Round
Don’t you hate it when you’re tight on the front nine and don’t swing freely until the back nine or the last few holes of the day? Stretching can help you warm up faster, so you can get this feeling much earlier in the round.
7 Golf Stretches To Start Now
We’ve chosen 7 essential stretches, specifically designed for golfers looking to increase their mobility and flexibility. You’ve probably seen most of them before, so implementing these into your routine is simple!
1. Toe Touch Stretch
When: at home or in the parking lot pre-round.
This easy golf stretch will help loosen your back muscles and hamstrings. Hold this stretch for 30–60 seconds to get your body ready for the round. If you sit a lot at work, doing this stretch every hour can help loosen your back and improve posture.
2. Twisting Stretch
When: before hitting golf balls at the driving range
Start with your feet in a driver stance (wider than shoulder width). Rest one hand on your lower back and with an exhalation, bend the opposite knee to reach your right hand to the left foot.
Repeat this motion 5-10X to warm up your lower back.
3. Standing Forward Bend
When: at the driving range or intermittent during the round.
This is an easy golf stretch that you can do even if you aren’t very flexible. Reach your arms behind your back, interlace your fingers, and lift your shoulders toward your ears.
Bend forward at the waist so that your back stays flat and doesn’t round. Continue to bend as far as you feel comfortable. You should feel your glutes, legs, and lower back loosen up.
4. Scarecrow Twists
Scarecrow twists are a great stretch to do before the round at the range, during the round when you’re waiting between holes, and afterward in the parking lot. Grab a golf club or alignment rod and place it behind your neck and on your shoulders.
Bend your knees and twist left to right while continuing to breathe through the stretch. This is a great stretch regardless of your flexibility and one you can always improve. Repeat 5-10X on each side to loosen up your lower back and improve hip mobility.
5. Shoulder Flossing
If there’s one golf stretch we see repeatedly before, during, and for non-golfers in the gym, it’s this one. Shoulder flossing is easy and can help you relax your shoulders to get the proper upper body movement in your swing.
Grab a club or alignment stick and hold it at the end of each side directly in front of your body. Then take the club over your head and behind your body to loosen up your neck and shoulders, as shown above.
6. Overhead Tricep Stretch
When: after an upper body workout or before the round on the driving range.
Grab a club with one hand on the grip and the other on the clubhead behind your body, so the club is parallel with your body and rests on your back and shoulder blades. Extend your arms and feel the stretch in your tricep. Repeat 5-7X with each arm.
7. Internal Hip Rotator Stretch
When: before the round or after a lower body workout.
Sit with your back against a bench at the course or in your golf cart. Lift your left leg and place the left ankle on your right thigh with your knee pointing out.
While seated, gently press down on your thigh until you feel the stretch. Lean forward and keep your back straight – hold this for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
Don’t Forget Your Stretches
If you’re serious about golf, it’s important not to neglect stretching alongside your regular workouts and cardio routines. Stretching – before, during, and after the round – can help with multiple facets of the game.
Don’t forget, golf is not an easy movement on the body. Paired with a lot of sitting in our day-to-day routines, this can cause muscle imbalances, which can lead to injury. Simple stretches make a huge difference!
Make a concentrated effort to incorporate golf stretches into your daily routines to feel better and play better longer than ever. If you need help with a specific area of your game, make sure to check out our training library to learn from top coaches.