Golf stretching exercises, performed consistently (and properly) will increase your range of motion, your power and ultimately… help to reduce your handicap.
Perhaps just as importantly, stretching will help to reduce the occurrence of those niggling injuries that so many golfers must endure. However there are different types of golf stretching exercises and which ones you perform, and when, makes a significant difference…
The stretching exercises on this page are designed just prior to a game – as part of a warm up routine. The majority are dynamic stretches which will help to reduce muscle stiffness without compromising your power.
There are several other forms of stretching – the most common being static stretching and this is great for increasing your flexibility. But more and more research is showing that static stretching before a sport that involves powerful movements (such as the golf swing) can negatively affect performance. Simply put, this type of stretching reduces how powerfully you can contract your muscles and so potentially, how far you can hit the ball.
For this reason athletes in most sports are now advised to warm with dynamic stretches and increase their flexibility either on separate days, or after a game, with static stretches.
This article focuses on the warm up routine – golf stretching exercises that are dynamic in their nature. To improve your range of motion (which is also very important) please read the golf stretching article.
Complete this pre-game warm up and golf stretching exercises in the order set out. It should take no longer than 10-15 minutes and it’s important you get to the course early to allow for this.
Golf Stretching Exercises and Warm Up Routine
Start this routine about 15-20 minutes before you tee-off. It loses its effect if you spend 15-20 minutes afterwards getting your bag and clubs together. You should be changed and ready to play so that you tee-off within 5 minutes of finishing this warm up.
STEP 1 – Walking for 3-5 Minutes
Walk briskly for 3-5 minutes, either around the car park or a quiet area of the course. You might want to walk from your car to the locker room and back a few times.
STEP 2 – Supported Squats
This exercise will elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow to the major muscle groups.
- Hold a short club (i.e. 8 iron) overhead with hands at either end. Arms should be fully stretched directly above you.
- Squat down until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground and stand up. Repeat 10 times.
- Rest and repeat again.
For more advanced players you can do this supported, single leg squat instead…
- Start by standing and bracing against a golf club such as a 2 or 3 iron.
- Bring your left foot up and place across your opposite knee. Your knee will be bent at 90 degrees.
- Squat down until your knee is almost parallel to the ground, stand up and repeat 10 times.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Complete the following stretches in order…
- Stand tall and hold arms out to your side.
- Slowly swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body.
- Repeat this continuous motion for 30 seconds.
- Stand with a shoulder width stance. Place a club on your shoulders holding it at either end.
- With knees slightly bent, bend forward from the waist slightly (as though adopting the swing posture).
- Turn from side to side aiming to get the ends of the club directly in front of you with each turn.
- Complete a total of 15-20 full swings.
Side Bends with Club
- Stand with a shoulder width stance. Place a club on your shoulders.
- Lean to one side keeping your torso straight. Do not bend forward or backwards.
- Hold for a count of 2 and then repeat to the other side.
- Complete 8-10 stretches each side.
Standing Shoulder Stretch
- Stand with a shoulder width stance and place both hands on the end of the club.
- Lean forward keeping your back flat until you feel a stretch in your shoulders.
- Hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat a total of 3 times.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keeping your upper body perpendicular to the ground swing one leg forward and backward.
- Do not swing your leg so hard that you can not keep your upper body from moving. 4. Repeat for 10 full swings and repeat on other leg.
Alternate Toe Touches
- Start by standing with your feet spread as far apart as comfortably possible.
- Lean forward toward one leg and try to reach your foot or until a comfortable stretch is felt in your low back and hamstrings.
- Now try to touch the other foot with the opposite arm. Ths motion should be continuous alternately touching each foot (as close as possible) with the opposite hand.
Important: skip this stretch you are prone to low back pain or if it causes you any discomfort.
- Stand with your right arm extended straight out.
- Pull back your fingers with the other hand until you feel a stretch in your forearm.
- Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other wrist. Repeat again for each wrist
Using either a weighted club or 2 clubs held together perform 10 complete swings. However, rather than stopping between each swing, it should be one continuous motion. For example, start with a back swing into a full follow through and immediately from the finish position take the club into the back swing position (as though you are swinging in reverse).
STEP 4 – Practice Swings
Complete 2-3 minutes of practice swings working on any techniques, or swing thoughts you may have been given. It’s important not to practice technique with a weighted club or two clubs at this stage. You are now warmed up physically and this time is about sharpening your swing and reminding yourself of any coaching points to work on during the round. It is also a good idea to rest completely for about 2 minutes before you tee-off. Avoid walking up to the tee out of breath as this will compromise your ability to control your swing.
Jacky has a degree in Sports Science and is a Certified Sports and Conditioning Coach. He has also worked with clients around the world as a personal trainer.
He has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of people from very different ends of the fitness spectrum. Through promoting positive health changes with diet and exercise, he has helped patients recover from aging-related and other otherwise debilitating diseases.
He spends most of his time these days writing fitness-related content of some form or another. He still likes to work with people on a one-to-one basis – he just doesn’t get up at 5am to see clients anymore.