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Warming Up

Getting the body ready
for golf season

Stretching is an
important part of preparedness

 

 
(May 2011)
Read Previous Golf Columns!
Jim Meisner

As spring and summer approach, we get out the golf clubs. Our expectations are high. After all, we were playing rather well at the end of last season. We should be able to pick up where we left off, right?
Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you haven’t been playing or practicing on those occasional warm days through the winter and continuing your golf exercises on the not so warm days, STOP. Let’s think about getting back into golf shape before you make that first mighty swing and pull or strain some unused muscles and spend the next two months trying to swing a club in a way that doesn’t hurt. Then the next two months are spent trying to unlearn what you have been doing wrong as you tried to protect those sore muscles.
Here are three golf exercises that should be a part of every golfers routine every day. If you don’t have an exercise routine that includes stretching, start now. Every golfer knows the way to getting better is to practice. Consider exercise and stretching a part of the practice routine. If you have medical restrictions or concerns check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
In open space, standing up straight with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly flexed, arms relaxed hanging at your side slowly bend to one side allowing your hand to go down the side of your leg until it reaches the knee (don’t bend forward but to the side). Slowly extend your other arm up toward the sky directly opposite the one down at your knee.
You should have a good straight line of arms from knee to the sky. You may feel a slight stretch. Now to introduce you to some muscles you didn’t even know you had. While in this extended arms position, slowly turn your head and look up the high side arm. Count to five and slowly go back to starting position. Reverse the arm positions and stretch the other side. Repeat 10 times in the morning and evening.
With your back side about a foot away from the wall, assume a good golf stance with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly flexed and body bent slightly forward from the waist. Bend both arms up at the elbow and raise both hands with palms facing away as if you were going to push something away from you. Keeping both feet flat on the floor rotate around slowly to the right as far as you can placing both palms against the wall. Hold that position for a count of five. Keeping your palms up, slowly rotate back to the left, past the centered position as far around to the left as you can. In this turn allow your right foot to pivot up onto the toe. You’ll find it easier to rotate further as the foot pivots up onto the toe. Place your palms against the wall again and count to five. Slowly return to the centered position and repeat this exercise ten times in the morning and evening.
In golf everyone talks about the shoulder turn so let’s work on that. Assume a good golf stance with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly flexed and body bent slightly forward at the waist. While staying in this posture extend your left arm out in front of you at an angle that has you pointing at the ground about four to five feet in front of you. Staying in posture, keeping your left arm straight, use your right arm as a hook coming up from below somewhere around the left elbow.
You should be able to get the right arm “hooked” around the left at about elbow to elbow position. Stay in posture, with your chin up slightly use the right arm to pull the straight left arm slowly around to the right until your left shoulder is pointing slightly behind where a ball would have been.
You will find your back is to the target and if you had a club in hand you would be in a pretty good position to make a good swing. Reverse the roles for each arm and make this good stretch with the right arm and shoulder to the left. Again, in this exercise you want to pivot the right foot to a toe up position to make the turn around the left side easier. The key in this exercise for best golf results is to stay in posture. If you should happen to change your posture by standing up you will still benefit from the good shoulder stretch.
Try these exercises. Understand that you are stretching muscles that you haven’t used very much if at all. You might experience a slight bit of discomfort at first. Do everything slowly and you will find greater flexibility and a better golf swing. Have a great golf season.

• Jim Meisner is is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Midwest Golf Academy at Cozy Acres Golf Complex in Madison, Ind. Call him at (812) 273-3137.

 

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