- Always warm up and stretch before playing or hitting at the practice range.
A proper warm up such as walking, a slow jog, or low level calisthenics elevate your core temperature and increase blood flow to muscles. Stretching will increase flexibility and reduce the risk of muscle/tendon injuries.
- Stretching should not be restricted to the shoulder and elbow. The legs and hips should also be included. Remember, golf involves a great deal of walking and the golf swing has a significant contribution from the lower body.
- Pay particular attention to hamstring flexibility. Tight hamstrings have a negative effect on posture and increase pressure on the low back. Low back pain is the most common injury for recreational golfers.
- Perform exercises to increase your trunk flexibility. One of the main differences between professional and amateur golfers is the amount of trunk rotation. Increasing trunk rotation during the backswing allows you to store more energy and generate more clubhead speed. This can result in greater distance.
- Perform strengthening exercises for your legs and hips. Power of the golf swing begins at the hips. Strong, stable hips and thighs help to maintain posture throughout the swing and allow the swing to be more explosive. The hips and legs also absorb forces from the upper body during the follow through reducing the chances of injury.
- Most leg and hip strengthening should be performed in standing. Exercises such as squats and lunges are more functional and also promote better balance and posture.
- Establish a core or trunk strengthening program. Strong abdominal and back muscles reduce torsion to the low back during the golf swing. In addition, energy is transferred from the legs to the upper body through the core. Good core strength contributes to a more repeatable swing, improving the accuracy of your game.
- Address your cardiovascular condition. Although golf is not considered an aerobic sport, fatigue can play a large role in performance and injury prevention, especially when walking 18 holes. A walking, biking or light jogging program can condition you well for the sport.
- Pay attention to your body mechanics when bending to tee up or retrieving your ball. Bend at your hips and knees to protect your back.
- Take a lesson with a qualified professional. Improving your swing mechanics can improve your game, lower your score and reduce the risk of injury.
Reviewed and Updated: 11/6/2009