Does this sound familiar?
You’re getting ready to head out for eighteen holes and you realize you’re short on time. You speed to the course, managing to arrive 10 minutes before your tee time. You quickly put on your golf shoes, grab your clubs and slam the trunk. You rush into the pro shop to settle your fees, while your buddy waits impatiently in the golf cart and off you go to the first tee to join the rest of your group. Before you put the peg in the ground, your warm-up consists of a few practice swings before you subsequently make one of your worst swings of the day.
Unfortunately, I see this happen way too often. Ideally you want to arrive at the golf course 20-30 minutes before your tee time to adequately warm-up, but lets be realistic, not everyone has the time. So, we have developed a simple and time-effective warm-up routine that you can do on the first tee in two to three minutes.
1. Forward Bend/Hamstring Stretch
This basic stretch is highly effective for loosing up your lower back. This is great for everyone because no matter if you sit or stand all day, your lower back and hamstring will tense throughout the day.
Start by standing up straight with your feet six inches apart. While maintaining a straight back, bring your arms above your head and start bending from the waist until your hands reach your toes, or as close as you can get. While bending from the waist try and keep your spine as straight as possible. Hold this stretch for three to five seconds and repeat three times.
2. Standing Hip Stretch
This stretch will help you loosen up your hips. The hips are one of the most important areas to warm-up because they are used on essentially every swing you make.
You’ll want to make sure you have your golf club with you to aid with your balance during this stretch, as you will basically be balancing on one leg at a time. Begin by placing your right ankle on the outside of the left knee, as though you were going to sit Indian-style. Take a deep breath and as you do, begin to bend your left knee as though you were going to sit down in a chair. Bring your chest toward your shin and rolling your shoulder blades together. Hold this position for three breaths and repeat three times on each side.
3. Neck and Trunk Stretch
This last stretch is for your entire upper body. This will loosen all the major muscles in your back, chest, shoulders and neck. As the most effective stretch listed, if you only have a minute to warm-up, at least do this move.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, looking straight ahead. While keeping your body still, look up to the sky trying to extend your chin as high as possible. Hold this position for two seconds. While still looking up, extend your arms above your head while holding the club in both hands (the shaft of the golf club will be horizontal to ground). Lower your hands so that the shaft is lying across the back of your neck. Maintaining the current position, rotate your shoulders as thought you are swinging to the top of your backswing. Once your backswing is completed, hold this position for two seconds. Then rotate your shoulders to a follow through position, and hold for two seconds. Repeat the whole process two more times. To increase your flexibility throughout the stretch, try restricting your hip movement.
All of these stretches should help you loosen up in a quick and efficient manner. Once you run through this routine at home a few time, you’ll have it down pat. I’m not encouraging a late arrival to the golf course, but we all know it happens from time to time. Arriving with a half-hour to spare allows time for all of the above, plus some pitching and putting practice, and even a few full swings off the practice tee!