Stretching Revisited

Nearly every golfer will be seen doing some type of stretching routine prior to his/her round. More often than not, this consists of a self-built routine that is based only on what the golfer feels needs attention. It is rare that a pre-round stretch ng program has been designed for that individual’s needs. Is this bad, though?

Stretching before a round of golf is an effective way to loosen up tight muscles and joints. The most commonly stretched areas are the arms/shoulders and legs/low back. There are more methods to stretch these and other areas than you can shake a stick at. Certainly more than can be specifically addressed in this medium. The bottom line is that they are all likely beneficial, to a point.

To physiologically lengthen a muscle-in other words truly make it longer-takes weeks to months of a daily stretching routine. This means that the weekend golfer doing stretches before a round is not really having a significant long-term impact on the muscle.

There are many experts, myself included, who would argue that stretching the wrong area may be harmful for the golfer. This is true only if the golfer is stretching the wrong area the wrong way, regularly. Merely pre-round stretching wouldn’t be expected to create this detrimental effect.

Without addressing what stretch is correct for which golfer, some simple guidelines should be followed to ensure safety.

1. Stretch only to the boundary of comfort. A stretch should never hurt.

2. Hold a stretch for 10-20 seconds.

3. Never bounce or force your muscle to stretch. This may quickly cause minor muscle tears.

4. Breathe while you hold your stretch.

Simply put, the stretches that we do before a round aren’t really doing much for us. The good news is that, done properly, they aren’t likely to cause any problems, either. The best way to loosen up for the round continues to be a light warm up on the range beginning with short wedge shots working up to medium speed long irons/woods. If you wish to improve your long-term flexibility, be sure to seek professional advice to ensure safety.


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