Many golfers mistakenly think that fitness doesn’t play a big role in their golf games. On its surface, golf doesn’t seem like a particularly demanding game from a physical standpoint. There is no running, no jumping, and you can even ride in a cart while you play if you so choose. So why get into great shape just to golf? In reality, the golf swing is a demanding physical motion that requires muscle strength – and flexibility – to execute properly time after time. For us ladies’, there are some specific exercises we can do in order to be better prepared physically for our next round. Try the following three simple exercises-
1. Hamstring Stretch. This is a very simply exercise, but one that is critical to your swing. When you get into an address position before you swing, you are putting strain on your hamstrings to support you during the swing. If you have hamstrings that are tight, you will not be able to make a full backswing without lifting up and out of your posture. To improve this, spend time before AND after each round stretching your hamstrings. Just a simple reach down to your toes with your feet together will work – hold each stretch from 20-30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
2. Grip Strength. Usually, women do not have as much natural forearm strength as men. Having strength in your forearms (and hands) leads to a better grip on the club, and the ability to hold the clubface steady when hitting from the rough. To work on your grip, purchase a squeeze ball or similar device that you can work with at home. A word of warning, though – don’t do grip exercises the same day you are going to play. Overworking those muscles can lead to a lack of feel for the club and actually hurt your game. Save the hand exercises for days when you are not golfing and you will notice an improvement in just a couple weeks’ time.
3. Torso Turn. Much of your ability to generate power in your golf swing is determined by how much separation you can achieve between your shoulder turn and your hips. Ideally, your shoulders will rotate back fully while your hips move only a minimal amount. This type of backswing stores up energy that is ready to be released down into the ball. To work on improving this turn, try doing the following stretch on a consistent basis. Lie down on your back and put one leg over the other. Pull the top leg across until you feel the stretch in your lower back and down into your butt. Hold it for about 30 seconds. Gently move out of that stretch and switch sides. Work each side for 3 repetitions.
Can you just walk out of the car and play golf with no physical preparation? Sure. But don’t expect to play your best. With just a little bit of consistent time and effort spent on these three exercises, you will be way ahead of the game and heading toward the best golf of your life.