1) Never underestimate the power of a good warm-up.
The golf swing involves complex movements done at high speeds, which can be a recipe for injury if your body is not ready for stresses placed upon it. A pre-round or pre-driving range warm up is something that should take 5-10 minutes and hit all the major muscles in the body. Focus on dynamic movements such as arm circles and torso rotations rather than static stretches such as holding a hamstring stretch for 30-45 seconds.
2) Don’t neglect the role that fitness plays in improving your game.
Jack Nicklaus once said, “Professional golfers condition to play golf; amateur golfers play golf to condition.” We all strive to get results that are similar to our favorite tour players, so we should take notes on how they prepare. Maintaining a steady fitness regimen that includes proper strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility exercises will leave you feeling stronger, less fatigued, and lower your risk of injury.
3) Stretch your muscles after you play.
Flexibility is an important component of performing a proper golf swing. The more flexible you are, the greater your swing’s range of motion, resulting in more power. The best time to complete a stretching routine is after activity because your muscles and tendons are properly warmed up and loose, much like a rubber band. Stretching before activity or first thing in the morning greatly increases your chances of pulling a muscle.
4) Ditch the golf cart and take a walk.
Golf was designed to be a game where you walk from shot to shot, not drive there. On average, you can rack up 5-7 miles of walking in a typical 18 hole round. That’s a whole days worth of recommended steps in just a few hours! If carrying a full bag of clubs seems like torture, try using a pull cart or shop for a carry bag that has two shoulder straps. The bag will be lighter and the two straps will distribute the bag’s weight evenly.
5) Proper nutrition and hydration is essential to take your game up a notch.
The way you feel during a round will greatly affect the scores you end up writing on the scorecard. Nutrition and hydration are vital to your performance during a round of golf. Make sure to eat a pre-round meal rich in carbohydrates and low in fat and fiber. Good examples include fruit and yogurt or cereal with milk. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, both before and during the round. The goal to work toward is consuming half your body weight in ounces; that means if you weigh 200 lbs, you should drink 100 ounces of water per day. At the turn, avoid hot dogs, beer, and candy bars in favor of water, fruit, and nuts. The sugar and alcohol will draw water out of the body and increase chances of dehydration.
6) Injuries can happen.
To avoid the chances of injury, follow many of the previous tips: warm up, keep your body in shape, and maintain healthy eating habits. However, even with the best precautions, injuries can occur. Muscle and tendon injuries are fairly common in amateur golfers. The best remedy for these injuries is to ice and rest. Ice the injured area for 15-20 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling. If swelling or pain does not decline after a few days, consult your doctor for further advice.
Matt works as a Fitness Specialist at the Summa Wellness Institute in Hudson. He is a Certified Golf Fitness Specialist through the Titleist Performance Institute and performs golf fitness assessments and administers programs to both members and non-members of the facility. If you are interested in participating in a golf fitness program or have any questions about these tips, please contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Summa Wellness Institute at 330-342-4400.