Do Not Stretch Just Before Your Golf Round

By: Jeff Gustafson

Did you read that right?

Let me say it again: "Do not stretch just before each golf round!"

Flexibility is important in all phases of the golf swing. The different phases require various parts of your body, muscles, joints and ligaments including neck, wrists, shoulders, trunk, knees, hips and ankles. If one of these joints or structures is limited you may not notice.

Your body is very good at making adjustments in order to complete its task. However this can lead to various compensations and muscle imbalances which could present them selves as a slice, hook, or just a general bad shot. Therefore it is important to gain and maintain balanced flexibility throughout your joints to allow full range of motion of your swing. Timing of your stretching is also important

Although stretching should be done as a part of your daily life, to stretch right before or during a golf round can inhibit the muscles for a short period of time leading to decrease in power output (that is less distance in the mind of the golfer). But doing regular stretching away from the game will actually help in:

&bullReducing muscle tension and make you feel more relaxed

&bullGive you freer movement which is so critical to the golf swing

&bullReduce muscle strain

&bullKeep you prepared for your activities

&bullLoosen the mind's control of the body so it moves freely Always remember that it is best to do relaxed, sustained stretches with focus on the muscles being stretched. When you begin, start with easy stretches and don't force it. Do not bounce and only go to the point of where you feel relatively mild tension then relax as you hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. You will notice the tension subside as you hold the position. You can then begin to move slowly an inch further in each position till you feel again a mild tension and again hold that for 15-30 seconds. If the tension at any point does not subside then back off just a bit. The idea is to gradually stretch out the muscles. Your breathing should be slow, rhythmical and under control. Exhale as you head into the stretch position and then breathe slowly as you hold the position.

Never hold your breath during the stretch. The two areas most affected by the golf swing are your shoulders and your hips and they are the areas that give you your club head speed. As people get older, those two areas begin to restrict and so it is important to stretch both areas regularly.

Summary: A proper and consistent stretching routine between rounds can help prevent injury and allow for a smooth and powerful golf swing.

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