For those of us who have failed to escape an awful winter, it might feel like your first tee off remains months away. We’re all looking trade in our shovels for irons and snow filled driveways for lush fairways and greens. As some of you have begun to make your way to the nearest golf dome or simulator in hopes of firming up that slice or simply prep for what’s to come; we need to remember the importance of pre-season preparations.
Yes, priming our body for the demands of a golf swing are a must. Not only to produce a long, straight ball, but to also help prevent injury. For most, our exercise routine during the long Buffalo winter is consumed by snow removal. The bitterly depressing cold temps have many of us tied up in multiple layers and simply foregoing exercise. Any lost flexibility from the 2014 season has likely diminished. Your shoulders, trunk, and hips likely lost your tolerance to swing a club during the off season. We cannot realistically expect our golf swing to pick up where it left off. If this is true for you, and you find yourself saying “I just can’t rotate like last year” or “it’s hard to turn into my backswing” I implore you to stop, put down the golf clubs, and stretch! Not only may you be damaging your confidence but early season shanks and slices, but you may be damaging your spine as well. Limitations in flexibility alters your swing mechanics. Simply put, our muscle memory may want to produce the proper swing path, but if the muscles and joints aren’t willing to flex/extend and move as needed, our swing mechanics will change accordingly. If this change produces poor results, the first thing we often say to ourselves is “I need to change something in my swing.” The most common flaw for most amateurs occurs during the backswing. Categorized by swaying the hips and trunk backwards rather than rotating behind the ball occurs when tightness limits your ability to rotate through the hips and trunk. This swing change commonly produces the dreaded “over the top” slice swing and robs us of both accuracy and distance.
If we obtain the proper mobility and move well through the shoulders, trunk and most importantly the hips, we can focus solely on the consistent swing mechanics. Your golf season begins today. Forget that there’s snow on the ground. Begin with a consistent stretching routine for a few weeks before trying to prime your skills for the longest drive competition. Not only does a pre-season stretching routine help us begin to groove our swing but it also greatly lowers our chance of developing injury as the season progresses.
During winter / early spring months: I recommend a 2:1 approach to off-season golfing, meaning you should be spending 2x as many days stretching as days hitting balls (except short game practice which you can never practice enough of, ask the pros). Mobility is the key which unlocks consistency and power in your golf game. For an in depth look at the golf swing including posture/set-up, ball positioning, mechanics, and an dynamic warm-up routine developed to optimize your golfing potential, please sign up on our website for our free Golf Smart classes.