Golfers are always looking for ways to gain an edge. But there’s one factor that’s often overlooked: flexibility. Being highly flexible can lead to major improvements in your game—not to mention your health, too.
Stretching should always be a part of your golfing routine. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the range to hit a few drives or playing 18 holes—you’ll be surprised how much better you can perform when your body is properly stretched. Stretching allows your muscles to expand and contract further and more effectively, which actually makes your muscles longer and more powerful. And in a sport like golf where muscle length makes a difference, stretching can give you a big advantage.
Neglecting a proper stretching routine can lead to major long-term injuries. That’s why stretching is especially important if you’re over the age of 40. What starts as a minor ache or pain can compound quickly when your muscles aren’t properly stretched, and this can lead to debilitating problems. Long-term flexibility issues most often affect the back and neck, but can also cause arm, leg, and even wrist and hand problems.
Luckily, a proper stretch routine is quick and easy—and you’ll start noticing the benefits immediately. Here’s a simple routine to help get you started:
- Hamstrings: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, and bend down slowly, trying to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds. This stretch will also help loosen your lower back. As hamstrings can be very tight, you may want to repeat this stretch.
- Quads: Stand on one foot and pull your other foot backward toward your butt while gripping your ankle with both hands. Repeat for the other leg.
- Abs/side: While standing, put one hand in the air as high as you can straight about your head. Lean sideways while keeping your other hand on your hip. Be sure to stretch both sides.
- Rotator Cuff: Take a golf club and hold it in the center of the shaft with one hand. Carefully rotate the club left and right.
- Neck: Lean your neck to each side—just enough to feel a good pull—for about 10 seconds. Then do the same thing forward and backward.
- Forearms: Get on your knees and put your hands flat on the floor with your fingers facing inward. Spread your fingers far apart. Now carefully lean side to side for a few seconds while keeping your elbows as straight as you can, and stretch the tendons and muscles in your fingers and forearms.
If you take just five minutes to follow this simple routine each time before you hit the links, your scores will almost surely improve. And if stretching doesn’t help you achieve a lower score, you should still do it—your body will thank you!