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Stretching: getting ready for golf season

Flexibility is the buzzword in the golf world!

The more flexible a golfer is the better chance he or she has at making an optimal backswing, and producing maximum clubhead speed.

Knowing your limitations going into a stretching program is very important. If you have joint or muscle limitations, you should see your doctor before you start.

Flexibility training should be done consistently (daily) to obtain significant improvement. As we get older, flexibility becomes a greater issue when attempting recreational activities such as golf.

Follow the guidelines below, and you will get the most out of your flexibility program, and play your best golf!

Always Warm Up Before Stretching

Never stretch a cold muscle; always warm up first to get blood circulating throughout the body and into the muscles. A warm-up should be some simple exercise like jumping jacks or walking works well.

This provides the body with a period of adjustment between rest and the activity. The warm-up should last about five minutes. Once you have warmed up at a low intensity for about 5 minutes and have your muscles warm, you can now stretch.

Stretch Before Golf

Stretching before golf should be part of your warm-up. This can be done by walking from your car to the practice range at a fast pace, thus preparing your body for active warm-ups specific to golf.

The shoulder joint is the most active joint in the golf swing. Movements such as arms circles and crosses are needed to prepare for an aggressive golf swing on the first tee.

The hamstrings and low back are also critical areas to warm up before swinging a club. Doing some easy toe touches (ease into it) with slightly bent knees will adequately loosen up your lower back and hamstrings and provide more freedom in your golf swing.

Stretch After Golf

Most golfers head for the clubhouse after the round. This is a crucial time for stretching because you have just put your body through a lot of stress.

Spending only 5 minutes after the round doing stretches will prevent a lot of soreness and tightness.

The areas to concentrate on are the low back, hamstrings, hips and shoulders.

If done consistently, you will be able to play or practice the next day with very few residual effects.

McElroy, named 2007 Tennessee Section Junior Golf Leader of the Year, is program director of Knox Area Junior Golf Association and the PGA Professional at Concord Park Golf Course. He teaches adults and juniors and may be reached at 865-966-9103 or e-mail: Web site is:


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