It’s been a long time coming but spring is finally arriving! Luckily for golfers, breaks in the weather afford us a chance to shake off the rust with a few practice swings. For those of us that miss the opportunity to enjoy the occasional mild-winter golf outing, there are some fundamental tips to get you back into the swing of things.
Golf is about tempo and timing. Many of us are eager to “grip it and rip it” off the first tee. But months of cold and inactivity have stiffened our range of motion and worsened our timing. Our bodies have lost that rhythm and fluidity that gave us that birdie on 18 back in October! Instead of nailing that 300 yard drive off the first tee, we’re either looking for that ball we sliced 30 yards into the woods or worse yet, over straining dormant muscles or ligaments.
Tip #1 – Thinking Small will provide Big Goals
Practice first with slow, short swings before moving to full strokes. Chipping and pitching require finesse and tempo, too. Think of these as swings that use the same range of motion as full swings, but at lowered speed. This allows your legs, torso and arms to establish not only rhythm, but the mobility and motor control for full swings without overstraining your winter-stiffened body.
Tip #2 – Be Flexible and Mobile
Golf is a rotational sport with high repetition. Its required twisting and turning motions can send players off the course with lower back or knee pain. These are not rotational joints, and can strain easily from winter stiffness in rotational joints like the hips, mid-back, or shoulders.
Knowing this, flexibility and mobility are essential. They prevent injury, improve performance and contributed to unimpeded movement patterns. Golf swings are total body movements, so a lack of flexibility in one area might stress another area. This is the reason physical therapists have jobs!
Tip #3 – Think Outside the Box
Bigger, faster and stronger are not words typically associated with golf. But these days, PGA players are enjoying the benefits of strength training. The myth of weight training impairing your flexibility has been dispelled, and going through a full range of motion exercises will actually improve your flexibility.
And finally, have realistic expectations. Those first few rounds, you may have to warm up more than you expected. . So don’t get frustrated and take your anger out on your next swing! Otherwise you may find yourself Out of Action.
Stay tuned on www.biaphysicaltherapy.com for exercises to boost your performance, focus on core and lower body strength as well as stability and flexibility in my video series this spring.