Warm-Up to Swing: Stretches and Tips

Many golf players go straight from the pro-shop to the first tee and unfortunately take around three holes to get their rhythm and feel prepared to play. After squandering many strokes in those holes, they feel unhappy that they could have played and scored better.

On the flip side, there are also players who allow ample time, but prepare to play by starting on the range without preparing to swing at 80-100+ mph.

What can we do to prepare better?

Warm-Up To Swing, Don’t Swing To Warm-Up

An ideal warm-up stimulates your golf muscles, invigorates the mind and helps prevent injury. The amount of swings per round varies (the strokes made executing your shots, plus practice swings and range practice all add up to 200-400 swings per round). This places a lot of stress on your body.

To alleviate this physical stress, we need to prepare ourselves in a way that can also facilitate performance. This means elevating your body temperature and doing some range of motion exercises before you start hitting balls. This way you’ll be ready to attack the course from the first tee and be less likely to injure yourself in the process.

For your reference, we have two videos on how to best warm-up: Part One includes mostly lower body exercises and stretches; Part Two shows how to progress from upper body movements and how to progress up to full swings.

Part One (Lower Body Exercises and Stretches):

Chest Stretch: Hold for 30 seconds. Good posture in the golf swing is important, stretch out the chest muscles to give better balance to the shoulder girdle – a nice, easy way to wake up your body after what is likely a drive to the course.

Squats: Your fitness level and range of motion dictate how many you should complete. If you’re fairly fit and used to squatting - complete 10-15 reps; if not, aim for 5-10 reps and limit the depth of the squat to half way. Hold onto a cart or stable post if needed.

Split squat/ Hip Flexor Stretch Into Rotation: If you have balance issues, do this next to a wall or cart for balance. If your balance and leg strength is good, you can rotate your torso across your front knee as you drop down. Complete 5-10 reps/ side.

Lateral lunge/ Inner Thigh Stretch: Alternate between sides, complete 5-10 reps/ side. 

One-leg Storks/ Hamstring Stretch: If you have good flexibility in your hamstrings and balance you can try the One-leg stork. If balance is an issue try next to bench or cart where you can hold on. If both balance and flexibility are an issue, stretch out your hamstrings one at a time, bring one foot forward with the leg straight toes off the ground. Bend your back leg a little and lean forward with your back straight until you feel a mild stretch in the back of your thigh (for rotation you can stand in golf stance and turn your upper body left and right while holding a club in front of your chest): 5 sec stretch and alternate legs for 3-5 reps/ side.

Part Two (Upper Body):

Wrists: Using two wedges, hold the base of the grip (or if you’re stronger, hold closer to the top).

  • Wrist Hinging- Hinge forward and back for 10 reps, switch to hold the other direction.

  • Wrist Rotation- Rotating between palms, up and down for 10 reps.
  • Wrist Flexion & Extension- Holding midway down the shafts, both together for flexion & extension 10 reps each.

Shoulder and Torso Stretch: Holding two wedges, wind to the top of your backswing and extend your arms. Feel like you’re pushing your hands away from your body as you twist your hips the other way. Do in both directions with medium tempo swings between sides- 5-10 reps/ side.

If you’re short on time and have to go to the tee box, do some driver shaft swings to get your muscles ready to swing fast and be ready to stripe your first tee shot.

Optimal game preparation moves on to swing and technique practice. Depending on how much time you have, you could hit every club, or a few.

I like to finish my range session with playing the first few holes in my mind, imagining distances hit off the tee and approach distances selecting the clubs for those shots. If you think you missed the green, chip or pitch to a close target. This way you get a feel for switching between clubs, not hitting the same club twice in a row.

Practice Integration:

  • Swing: 30-50y pitches, Full wedges, Mid-iron, Low-iron/Hybrid, 3-wood. Hit 2-3 shots of each, progressing from high to low lofts.
  • Driver: Speed swings with the shaft 2-3/ side, full Driver swings.
  • Short game practice: Chips and pitches from fringe and rough, bunker play.
  • Putting: Straight short putts, 10-15’ with break both sides, distance/ speed 10-20-30’, 3 footers.

William Brett is a good friend of Pound Ridge Golf Club and TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor who works with golfers of all ages and abilities. An avid, single digit handicap based in Manhattan, Will conducts golf fitness evaluations on location, at your home, gym or even on the golf course.  With data he gathers (which is compared to PGA averages), golfers receive a fitness handicap.  Also, the results from the evaluation identify any weaknesses that can cause swing faults. Through this information Will is able to design custom golf fitness programs catered to the individual, making them stronger, more flexible and a better golfer. For more information visit www.willbfitgolf.com or email Will at willbfit@gmail.com.

These articles are for informational purposes only, and William Brett or Pound Ridge Golf Club cannot be held responsible for any incident that occurs without direct supervision. Before starting an exercise regimen, make sure you are cleared for exercise by your doctor. If you experience pain during any part of any exercise, refer to a medical practitioner and resolve the issue before continuing.