Have you ever seen a pitcher come to the mound, fresh from the dugout without taking a single second to stretch and warm-up? No, you have not. And hopefully you do not see a golfer coming straight out of the clubhouse and teeing up in the same way. More importantly, let’s hope that is not your usual practice. Golf is a sport, just like baseball, tennis or football and the same concepts apply: you have to be fit, and you have to warm up before you get started. Unless you want your first round of golf to be your last round as well, make sure that you stretch your muscles and do an adequate warm-up before blasting that first ball. It is also in your best interest to understand a little bit about what golf can do to your body, and what body parts are most important to your golf game.
Most golfers know that they will be using their upper bodies during their swing, and their lower bodies between each shot, but they may forget that their abdominal region is one of the most important factors of their game. A strong core will give you balance and power for your swing, but will also protect your lower back during the actual swinging action. The weaker your core is allowed to become, the more potential risk there is for back injuries, sometimes serious enough to keep you not only off the links, but off of your feet for days.
Consider yoga as part of your golf game. Keeping your back and shoulders loose and limber will help your swing not only to be strong, but safe as well. Some yoga programs can be modified and adapted for specific sports and are well worth looking into. Also do some strength training, especially those moves that target your shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps and forearm muscles. Along with working with weights, make sure that you are doing some flexibility moves as well. Follow your new routine at least three times per week, adding more as you increase your strength and flexibility. As always, make sure you consult your doctor before beginning any fitness routine.
There are many programs available, either on video, in books or on the Web, so make sure to find the right one for you and stick to it. Learn each of the stretches and do them in a mirror to make sure that you are keeping to proper alignment and form. Do each of the stretches for the recommended amount of time, but keep in mind that stretches should not be painful. If there is any pain, back off of the stretch and consider whether you were doing the move correctly, or trying to go too far with the stretch before your muscles are warmed properly. Remember golf is supposed to be a fun way to maintain your fitness, but nothing is enjoyable if it leaves you injured. Take the extra time to stretch and warm-up properly, so that you can enjoy your game and play to the best of your own ability.