Most golfers have their own fitness routine before setting up for the first tee. Some warm up with a couple practice swings, while others do brief arm or leg stretches that barely heat up the muscles.
We’re all guilty of the one minute warm-up routine, but it’s important to remember that warm-ups and stretches are essential to helping you play your best and avoid injuries. So, before you step foot on the green, you need to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the course ahead.
To help you get your muscles moving, your mind focused, and your short game perfected, we’ve created a list of 6 easy-to-follow warm-up exercises to help you prepare for your best golf game yet.
- Relax and Unwind
Golf is a great exercise that reduces stress and tension in the body. But before you play, you need to relax and refocus your thoughts away from the day. Whether you’re sitting in the locker room or in your vehicle before the first round begins, give yourself at least 10-15 minutes to unwind from the day. Meditation is great for golf preparation. It allows your mind to settle down and helps you release muscle tension.
Try to arrive at the course early to ensure you’re not rushing. The more time you give yourself to mentally prepare, the better you’ll play.
It’s no secret. Every athlete knows that stretching is crucial to ensuring peak performance. It provides you with more flexibility, a wider range of motion, and decreases your chances of injury from pulled muscles.
Try these quick and easy stretches to get your arms and legs moving. And if you need more motivation to get in the habit of stretching, invite your fellow Savvy Girl golfers to stretch with you. That way you’re less likely to skip this essential routine.
Forearm and Wrist Stretch—Lengthen your right arm in front of you with palm up. Use your left hand to bend your wrist down and stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Repeat with left arm.
Speed Trunk Rotation—Standing in the address position–your perfect golf swing pose– bring your palms together. Inhale as you rotate from the core and bring the right arm back. Exhale as you “clap” the hands together. Repeat this warm up 10 times in each direction. Then, while continuing in your address position, extend the arms to shoulder height and rotate from the core. Repeat this movement 10 times.
Shoulder Stretch—Hold your arms out straight at opposite sides of the body. Bend the elbows upright so that the upper arm is perpendicular to the ground. With palms facing forward, rotate the shoulders down and up so that the palms and arms are flat toward the ground. Continue this movement slowly, while increasing the range of every rotation for a set of 8.
Neck Stretch—Bring your right ear toward the right shoulder. Inhale as you press your left arm toward the ground, then exhale and relax the left arm. Repeat this movement slowly five times and gently return your head and neck to a neutral position before switching sides.
Side Bends—Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and place a club on top of your shoulders. Lean your weight to one side while keeping your torso straight. Hold for a count of two seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this stretch 8-10 times.
Weighted club—Using a weighted club, practice 10 complete swings. This warm-up should be performed in one continuous motion, so remember not to break between swings.
Squats—With feet shoulder width apart, point toes slightly outward from body and lower the hips down 6 inches and then lift back up. Make sure your knees do not cross your toes. Repeat this movement for 30 repetitions.
You’ll feel the burn with this warm-up, but you’ll also notice more strength in your lower body every time you swing.
- Use the Putting Green to Your Advantage
Now that you’ve stretched your body and you’re feeling more limber, it’s time to head over to the putting green for—you guessed it—more warm-ups.
Putting comprises over 40 percent of golf, and the putting stroke, itself, is the slowest and most precise of all strokes in the game. By spending time warming up on the green first, you’ll prepare for the speed of the greens and also start the day with a smooth, deliberate tempo.
Try to spend the first five minutes putting to a tee or a coin from twenty feet away. Then increase to thirty feet, then forty feet—using a variety of angles. After this warm up, spend another five minutes or so rolling putts to a tee or coin from ten feet away, then move closer to three feet. Finally, spend a few minutes hitting 6-12 inch putts. This warm up should only take you about 15-20 minutes to complete, but it’s well worth the effort, and you’ll quickly see how well your short game improves.
- Test the Greens
In order to determine how much the ball will roll, you first need to test the firmness of the greens. On hard greens, the ball tends to roll more than it would on soft greens. Remember that different types of rough also make the ball react differently, so don’t skip this warm-up. It’ll help you prepare both physically and strategically before your round begins.
- Practice Hitting the Driving Range
Now that you’ve mastered your short game, take 10-15 minutes to practice teeing off with your driver. This is always a fun warm up and helps you lengthen your range of motion.
- A Positive Attitude Makes a Better Golf Partner
Finally, remember that the best way to practice your warm-ups is with a positive attitude. Be thankful you have the opportunity to golf, and remind yourself to have fun regardless of how you shoot. A positive attitude goes a long way in this sport, and it will encourage your fellow golfers to do the same.