Golf Warm-Up

The images of the pink azaleas at Augusta, the first major of the year, signal the beginning of the golf season. We are lucky in the Algarve to be able to play all year round, but whether we play every week or have had a break for a few months, it is still important to warm up every time we go to play. 

Doing a proper warm-up before hitting our first tee shot allows us to prepare our body (and mind) for the game ahead. Generally, the first hole is one which requires a driver, the club we swing the fastest, so it makes sense that our body is ready for this. When we hit our driver, the muscles work in the same way as those of a 60-metre sprinter.  We would never sprint without first warming up as we know that something is likely to go “ping” if we do, yet we are happy to exert a massive amount of force onto our spine and the rest of our body without preparing it. A warm-up will help to prevent injury, enable us to swing freer and move better. 

A warm-up does not need to take a long time – five minutes is better than nothing. It needs to be a way of mobilising. You do not want to hold stretches for a long time, and you do not want to grab three clubs and swing them together! It is about creating movement and mobility within the joints and activating the muscles. 

There are three main areas we need to cover: 

  • Loosening the posterior chain (spine and hamstrings) 
  • Mobilising the hips
  • Creating rotation in the thoracic spine 
  • Here are three exercises I always do before playing: 

1 – Bows and side lean Take the club and raise it above your head. Lean to one side and then the other, then place the club across your chest or top of your back. Hinge at your waist as you bow, and then come back to standing. 

2 – Hip Circles Raise Lift one leg, knee bent and circle in one direction. Repeat in the opposite direction. Keep the club on the ground for stability.

3 – Stalk Drill Take a split stance with the left foot forward. Place your club across your chest or shoulders and rotate into the backswing. 

Finish with a few jumps to create some explosiveness, which will enable you to smash that first tee shot!

Ann de Jongh is a health & wellbeing coach


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