There’s nothing worse than getting onto the golf course in a rush and taking a few holes to feel like you’re “warmed up”. Not only does this lack of preparation for your round impact your scores and mental game, but you can be losing distance and accuracy without having warmed up. One of the most essential ways to warm up before you even take a swing is by stretching out! Golf stretches are important to being able to perform your best on the course. If you want to make some quick improvements, read our full guide on everything you need to know about golf stretches to help out your performance on the course.
Golf Stretches FAQs
If you don’t already stretch before you play golf, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. We’ve compiled some key information around golf stretches and why they’re great for your golf game!
Why Is Stretching Before Golf Important?
Stretching before you play golf is important for a few reasons, but the main reason can be boiled down to one simple phrase: increased range of motion. When you swing a golf club, you’re utilizing your body’s flexibility, mobility, coordination, stability and strength all together to complete your swing. To achieve better distance off the tee and with your irons, you need to be able to generate clubhead speed, and one huge factor in that process is being able to utilize your range of motion to give yourself a full turn back and through the ball.
Simply put, stretching before you play golf will help you hit the ball further and more accurately- this goes for amateurs and pros alike! In 2015, a study was conducted among 20 amateur golfers on the effects of golf stretches, and the results were staggering. Those who did proper stretching before they hit the course were hitting the ball 13 yards longer, and were 23% more accurate off the tee. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that advantage any day of the week. More mobility in your golf swing translates to better shots, it’s really that simple.
Stretching is absolutely key to warming up your muscles and priming them for a sport, and golf is no different. In the same way you’d never see LeBron get out on the court without a warmup, you’d never see Tiger hit the first tee without getting his body ready. Cold muscles are stiffer muscles, and are naturally more prone to injury. Stretching will help improve your flexibility over time, which takes tension out of your muscles. In golf, this really helps relieve stress and tension in your shoulders, core, and back while you’re playing. Stretching is a key factor in staying injury free from golf, but not the only factor. Doing things like staying hydrated, performing aerobic exercise, strength training and allotting time for a warm up and cool down all will help you stay injury free from golf.
What Muscles Do You Use During the Golf Swing?
The golf swing is a full body movement, and the short answer here is you use nearly all your muscles to execute a proper swing. Different muscles help you execute each of the 4 parts of the golf swing: your backswing, downswing, impact, and follow through. For your backswing, as you rotate and coil up bringing the club to the “set” position, you use your upper back, shoulders, and hips. As you start your downswing, your core, shoulders, hips and lower back come into play as you create torque and speed coming down. As your following through, your forearms control the club while your core keeps you stable. The entire time, your hamstrings, quads and calves keep you well balanced, and help you generate power during the swing.
It’s important to take care of your body as a golfer, because the golf swing takes a lot of effort from every muscle group. This is where stretching comes into play, but strength training plays a big part here too. We’ve also put together a guide on the best golf exercises, feel free to check that out for more info on strength training and golf!
Best Golf Stretches to Improve Your Performance
Different stretches target different areas of the body. We recommend doing 1-2 stretches for each muscle group. For each stretch, try and hold it for 10-30 seconds, if possible. If the stretch starts to hurt, stop immediately. First we’ll give you a run down of a 3-5 minute pre round stretch you can do right at the golf course, then a more detailed at home guide!
4 Quick Pre Round Golf Stretches
A lot of the time, you’re not going to want to get into a full stretching routine before leaving your house, and I get that. That said, doing a few stretches as you start warming up is still very effective to get loose and prime your body for optimal performance. Here are a few golf stretches we recommend incorporating into your pre round routine! Every stretch I’ve included here can be done with a golf club in hand, right on the range or frankly even the first tee box.
Standing Shoulder Stretch
Every time I get to the range, this is my very first go to stretch, and for good reason. Your shoulders play a huge part in your golf swing, and you want to make sure they’re ready before you take your first swing! This is a perfect stretch to kick off your routine.
Here’s The Move:
- Start by grabbing an iron, and hold it in front of you using an overhand grip, with one hand on the club head and one hand on the club’s grip.
- From here, lift the golf club in front of you and above your head, and fully extend your arms so that your elbows are straight.
- Once your arms are fully extended, slowly move your hands backward to stretch your shoulders, until you feel tension.
- Hold this position for 10-20 seconds, before slowly lowering your arms back to the starting position.
- Repeat this 2-3 times, and do not overexert yourself. This move helps you increase your range of motion over time.
Standing Forward Bend
After doing the standing shoulder stretch, the standing forward bend is a natural progression for your routine, keeping your golf club in hand. This is an easy stretch to perform that primarily engages your hamstrings, while also stretching out your calves and further engaging your shoulder muscles.
Here’s The Move:
- Start by standing up straight, keeping your back straight and shoulders back.
- With a golf club in hand, reach behind your back and grip the club at the clubhead and grip using the same overhand grip used in the shoulder stretch.
- Bend forward from your hips slowly, making sure you keep your back as flat as possible.
- Bend forward as far as you can, comfortably, and slowly move your hands away from your back to engage your shoulders. You should feel the stretch at this point in both your hamstrings and your shoulders; this is the full stretch.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, and then return to the standing position. Repeat this move 2-3 times.
A trunk rotation is a fancy way of saying “upper body rotation”. The trunk is the technical term for the central part of the body, and this movement helps stretch out your hips, lower back, center spine and neck. This is a really simple move that’s easy to perform, but eases tension in your spine and promotes core strength, trunk mobility and stability.
Here’s The Move:
- While standing, take your golf club and put it behind your back lengthwise, hooking both arms around the club holding it against your back.
- Slowly rotate your trunk and head to the right, until you feel the stretch and slight tension in your spine.
- Hold in this position for about 15-30 seconds, then return to your starting position.
- Repeat this move by rotating your trunk and head to the left. Repeat both sides once.
Leg Swings (Forward)
Leg swings are more of a dynamic stretch that helps create some mobility within your hamstrings and hip flexors. This is a perfect way to wrap up your pre round stretching warm up that will leave you ready to hit the course confidently.
Here’s The Move:
- Standing up straight, brace your golf club against the ground with one hand.
- Slowly start swinging the opposite leg forward and backward, in a pendulum motion, while engaging your core and keeping your posture tall.
- Gradually increase your leg swing range of motion, as you feel your leg starting to loosen up.
- Perform this for about 10 swings forward and back seconds, then repeat on the opposite leg.
6 At Home Golf Stretches
These stretches are great to loosen up your body, but can’t really be performed at the golf course. Here are 6 stretches you can do at home before golf. Try and do these 10-20 minutes before you head to the golf course for optimal results.
Shoulder Doorway Stretch
This is a great way to stretch out your shoulders before you head out onto the course for the day. As discussed earlier, you want a full range of motion with your shoulders to be able to get the most out of your golf swing. This stretch should relieve some tension in your shoulders, too!
Here’s The Move:
- Start by standing in a doorway, and lift both arms up at a 90 degree angle, resting your palms on the door frame.
- Take a small step through the door, until you feel the stretch on your horizontal muscles. Hold this position for 15+ seconds.
- Slide your hands further up the door frame to engage a different set of muscles, and hold this position for another 15-30 seconds.
- Repeat 1-2 times for best results.
Supine Twist Stretch
This is another really easy stretch to do that relieves tension in your hips, obliques, glutes, and back! I love doing this stretch when I’m sore, and I find this stretch to be extremely beneficial on the golf course. Doing the supine twist increases both spinal and hip mobility, perfect for the coiling motion of the golf swing.
Here’s The Move:
- Lay out a yoga mat, and lie down flat on your back. Extend both your arms out to your sides, with your palms facing down.
- Bend your knees, so that they are pointing at the ceiling with your feet flat on the ground.
- Slowly turn both of your knees to one side, holding them a couple inches above the ground. You should feel the stretch in your hips and back.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, and then return to the starting position.
- Repeat this sequence on opposite side.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
I always feel a really satisfying stretch when I do this hip and lower back stretch. This position feels like you’re extending your body because of the way your legs are positioned, and relieves a ton of tension in the hips and lower back.
Here’s The Move:
- Start by kneeling on your left knee, putting your right foot in front of you.
- Put your hands on your hips, or on your knee in front of you for stability.
- Lean forward, making sure to extend your hips forward. You should feel the stretch in your hips and groin for the most part.
- Hold this position for about 20-30 seconds, and then return to your knees.
- Repeat this sequence by switching sides, putting your left foot forward.
If you don’t use a foam roller, you’re missing out. By using a foam roller, you can relieve sore muscles, tightness, and increase your range of motion. I usually use a roller at least once prior to playing golf, but usually after as well. The relief is immediate, and it genuinely helps you loosen up for your round.
You can use a foam roller on your back, legs, feet, etc. There are many different ways to use it, so I’ve included a quick video below if you want a good visual:
This is a move straight out of yoga, and is extremely simple and effective. This is another spine mobility move, that helps strengthen your spinal support muscles and open your chest at the same time.
Here’s The Move:
- On a yoga mat, lie face down. Put your palms flat on the ground underneath your shoulders. Tuck your elbows tight into your sides.
- Slowly push your torso off the floor, keeping your hips firmly on the ground. Try and keep your lower ribs on the ground as well.
- You should feel the stretch in your back at this point. Hold this pose, keeping your elbows tight to your sides for about 20-30 seconds.
- Lower yourself to the starting position, and repeat 1-2 times.
The wall slide stretch will help you relieve tension in your chest and shoulders, and helps reset your posture. Specifically, this stretch is good for any sport that involves leaning forward consistently; obviously this makes the golfer a prime candidate to use this move!
Here’s The Move:
- Start by standing against a wall, making sure that your head, shoulders and butt are all pressed against the wall.
- Raise your arms so that your hands are level with your shoulders, with your palms away from the wall.
- Keep your head, shoulder blades and tailbone still, and slowly push your hands and arms up the wall, full extending them while keeping them against the wall. This process should take 5-10 seconds.
- Slowly lower your hands and arms at the same rate. Repeat this motion 8-12 times.
Stretching is an essential part of any golfer’s warmup, and should be taken seriously. Stretching not only relieves tension in your body, but loosens up your muscles and provides tangible results. If you want to be able to hit the ball further and more accurately, try using the pre round warm up stretches or our at home stretching guide!
We hope you find this guide useful, and thanks for reading! Be sure to check out more of our golf tips.