To warmup for a round of golf, most recreational golfers are happy to arrive at the course in time to squeeze in a few putts on a practice green, take a couple of swings with their driver, and check their bags for balls and tees. By contrast, professional golfers prepare by spending as much as 90 minutes stretching, putting, chipping and hitting balls from the practice tee.
So, you're not a pro. But here's a little quiz for you, recreational golfers. If you wanted to add one thing to your warm-up routine that would improve your game, what's the best thing to do: practice putting? take some chip shots? hit some balls on the range?
Try none of the above.
The best thing is much simpler: move!
Especially, that is, if you’re coming straight from your desk and you don’t have much time before tee-off.
Okay, move how, you ask? Do some squats, a few sprints or skip. Yes, I said skip. Skipping is one of the best exercises you can do for your swing becausse skipping requires the upper and lower body to move separately. Any movements that require rotation of the upper and lower body is good before playing because that is what the body needs to do when playing golf!
Remember, we’re talking about movement. It’s different from stretching. In stretching, we hold a static position in which muscles are stretched. And static stretching, it turns out, is not the best thing for playing golf. Stretched muscles will just rebound and shorten, or tighten.
Movement, on the other hand, helps muscles to warm up, increases range of motion and prepares your body for the physical activities needed to play the game.
Dynamic stretching improves performance in high intensity activities, according to several studies, while static stretching immediately before activities has been found to inhibit performance, for as long as two hours. Moreover, of the various methods listed above, only dynamic stretching increases the core temperature of the body. By raising your body’s temperature, you warm the muscles and make them more pliable.
In addition to skipping or stretching dynamically, try these warm-ups as well to improve your game:
- Putt and make three in a row from one putter length from the cut. This will give you confidence over the short putts when you are playing.
- Chip golf balls to the practice hole till you get one shot relatively close to the hole—about two giant steps from the hole!
- On the range hit a few ¼ and ½ pitches to get your timing and tempo.
- Hit full swings with various clubs. When you hit two good shots with a club, it is done. Finish hitting two good full swings with your driver.
Focusing on the good shots rather than the flubs will build your confidence before you play. Then while you're out on the course, stay positive! Talk positively to yourself. Say, “Good shot!” when you hit one. When you putt into a cup, smile! Remember to have fun!
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